"From the president of the United States and grateful Nation."
I remember the words so clearly as they handed my Mother the flag. I had never heard those words before that. As I stood there on that cold November Day, thoughts came swirling in my head. I flashed back to my fathers entire demeanor. How he organized his clothing drawers were. How he lived with honor, how military he was. How he had wanted to be in the National Cemetery and I was so against it.
It was like it was all coming together in my head, I was seeing experiences known only to those understanding military tradition.
He was part of this white sea of headstones belonging to the men and women who valiantly defended our nation. His military back bone had always been there.
He served as a Chaplin ministering to Vets at the Minneapolis Veterans Hospital for years. He was on the honor guard for awhile. He gave blood routinely as he was AB negative, the rarest blood type in the world. Many nights he would get a 2 am call and out the door he would go to give blood because someone was in need. It took me years to understand what a military man is. He lived our nation and preserving it's goodness my entire life.
Memorial Day means so many different things to our society. The start of summer, picnics, it is the official end of winter where I live.
To veterans it is a time of reflection, of their courage, sacrifices, pride and loss. My son has lost 2 friends to the Iraq war, and another that came back severely injured and is struggling with his injuries and each day is a gift as those days are slipping away from him.
Memorial Day we bring into memory those that have fought for our freedom. I would like to thank you, for your Father, Son, daughter, husband, ancestor, or maybe even you, for the scarifies your families have endured to keep America out of harms way.
That as we begin Memorial Day 2012 our families remain strong and we are enduring together what our nation is all about....
"First in WAR ... First in PEACE ... and First in the HEARTS of his countrymen." George Washington.
I have been working Christmas day for as long as I can remember. It has always been by choice. Although the double pay and a half is an incentive. It is the one day a year I know I can make a difference.
There are always the "ones" who are sitting by the elevator door waiting for their family to come. The "ones" who have no family but still hope for a visitor. The "ones" who's family can't come due to distance but they still hope. And the "ones" who have family but have long been forgotten.
There was a time when you could walk into a hospital or nursing home and visit with people. Now you have to go through "channels" you have to have clearance. In some cases if you want to volunteer to visit, you have to have a back ground check.
What has happened to us? We need each other so badly yet as a society we have been forced to part. As I walk through the stores and malls I can see people on the verge of tears. It is there ,right there under the surface, as time goes on it is getting harder for people to hide their pain.
The pain of what we are becoming in this treasured nation is worn on our peoples faces. Many have lost homes, jobs, and most of all hope. Hopes definition is, the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. How simple a definition can be said yet it's meaning is so vital to us all.
We are in the season of "hope'" it is more than time for hope to return to us. It is time to bring it back . We can have hope for a brighter future, to be more kind to each other, to help one another through this, and to ease each others pain if it is only with a glance and a smile of I understand, I am standing here with you.
We are a strong stubborn nation, built on a foundation of caring and taking care of each other. We can't let hope leave us.
On a Christmas morning long ago a baby was born into this world to bring us everlasting life. That was the beginning of hope. That was our salvation and our link to peace. The grouping of the words Faith, Hope, Love, Joy, Peace, are seen everywhere at this time of year.
I am sending you my wish that those words will not be words but an ointment to wash away your pain, your uncertainty of tomorrow and to send you my hope, that Faith, Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace, are part of your life each and everyday of the New Year.
Thanksgiving as a kid we had Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and then Christmas it was like leading up to the Super Bowl. In Minnesota it was almost worth the Halloween snow storm that does not stop until May. You got three wonderful holidays and it ended with presents. How much better could it get?
I remember one year my Mom had slaved over 4 pumpkin pies. She wanted them to cool quickly so she put them out on a ledge that actually was a cooling ledge right out side the kitchen window. It took about a minute and a half for the squirrels to find it. They had a party. There was about 7 of them swimming in her pies. I remember her standing at the window just looking out. All of us came running to see what she was looking at.
Squirrels were throwing pumpkin pie at each other one was running back and forth to feed another squirrel who was too frightened to approach the window. You could hear the holiday bliss and squirrels almost singing through the window. Their little furry faces were orange and they were chewing as fast as they could. Two of them thought it would be a good idea to take one home and were trying to drag a pie off.
I remember it was just mayhem out that window. Here she was, with 5 little children standing with her watching us, watch her face. None of us giggled or moved or even were breathing for a few minutes as we all stood there.
What would she do? She had been making pies for 2 days. I kept thinking she is going to explode any second. She left the window, went over to the freezer and pulled out 2 store bought frozen pies. Put them on the counter and looked at us kids.
In a low deep voice she said, "who did you think I was baking those pies for? The squirrels have to have Thanksgiving too".
It was so funny, I remember her reaction was almost as funny as what was going on outside that window. We laughed and watched. She was just going to be alright with this even if it killed her.
For days there were squirrels with stained orange faces jumping around the yard and all she would say is....Well, I know which ones did it, and I will be watching for them come Christmas.
Now I look back on those precious days so differently. It is about being together and seeing your family. Some that only are able to come for holidays due to distance. It is about seeing that one or two family members that always leave you shaking your head. It is about the new life, the babies and kids that are living the Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas Super Bowl.
We all have our memories of those who have gone before, don't let those memories make you sad, keep them close to your heart because those memories are what keep them near to us, they live on, when we can smile and see the squirrels faces covered in pumpkin on a cold winters day.
May the Joy and Hope of Thanksgiving bring you into the Christmas season refreshed and ready to party on.
Hello Rose How have you been? I am sorry I am answering late. I have been really busy in school and then I went to New York for a bit. I am so sorry you are having a lot on your plate right now. I am glad your daughter is alright. I have thought the same way sometimes about imediate family members bing supportive of me. Howevr, there is always going to be someone who is going to listen and be supportive of you. It is really strange how that is sometimes. It's like leading money to a family member trusting them that they will be honest and in disbelief, thier not. It just happens that way and it really dose hurt. One thing is, you have me as a friend. Yu take care Rose. You are a good person.