For about the past 12 years or so, I have been attending my community's ceremony/celebration to honor the local military veterans who have died in the past year. It is a touching ceremony filled with reverence, thanks and honor given to all those who have served.
The ceremony is held at the local cemetery and is a beautiful tradition surrounded by the beauty of many American Flags encircling us and gently blowing in the breeze.
Every year, it is a beautiful tribute to our Veterans and this year was no different. As the daughter of a military Air Force Veteran, the granddaughter of both a WWII Marine Veteran and Korean Marine Veteran, as well as too many military Vet uncles to count, we hold military ceremonies and traditions close to our hearts in my family. Every year, I am honored to attend this tradition.
This year, as the taps salute was performed (as it is every year), it hit a little closer to home as I remembered the same tribute being played at my maternal grandfather's funeral more than a decade ago. It's funny how certain sounds, sights, and even smells can take us back in time so easily, even if that time was quite long ago. I will always treasure the War Stories he told over the years. He was a man of many words and stories, but that is one area of his life where you could tell he had some reservations in reliving. That is why I treasure the ones he WAS willing to share with us. As a surviving soldier of the Battle of Okinawa, I know we are blessed to have had him in our lives to tell the stories. I encourage you to chat with any Veteran and get to know them and what stories influenced their lives. They have a lot to tell and their lives are something to be honored.
This Memorial Day, I have committed to focus less on the BBQs, pool time, and essentially celebrating the start of summer and instead, am keeping a special place in my heart and mind today to remember our family Veterans who gave so selflessly. I really believe in the honor of a Military Veteran and have seen firsthand in our lives how noble Veterans in our family have helped shape our lives even to this day by instilling their values and determination in future generations.
My hope for you today is to do the same--look with fondness to the start of summer, but at the same time, REMEMBER. Remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and keep their memories alive.
The greatest honor we can give our Military Veterans on this Memorial Day is to celebrate their lives and tell their stories. Keep their memories alive and honor in them in positive ways!