Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday Memories – The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree. ~Thomas Campbell

Hydn saluting his cousin Ty immediately after Ty became an officer in the United States Air Force

What a tremendous week we have had with Ty’s graduation from the Air Force Academy and his and Michelle’s wedding two days later.  I have the cold sores, canker sores, and a sty to prove it.  But first . . . Memorial Day.  After being among so many servicemen and women this week, and walking through halls named after war heroes who died protecting America, and seeing the servicemen’s garden of trees planted in honor of those who fell in Viet Nam – first I need to say thank you to those men and women who died to leave America free for the rest of us. 

No one is positively sure where the first Memorial Day started (over two dozen cities claim the honor), but its purpose was clear:  to honor those who had fought and died in the Civil War.  General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, ordered that May 30, 1868 be officially recognized as a day to honor the fallen soldiers from both the North and the South.
Slowly, but surely, Memorial Day has evolved into a holiday where we decorate graves with mums and lilacs, wildflowers and sagebrush, plastic-flowered-wreaths and flags to remember all of our dead, not just soldiers killed in battle.  Memorial Day is a time to honor our loved heroes.
A few years ago Cali showed me this nest full of baby robins. 

I thought profound thoughts about being a mother when I saw the nest full of baby robins. Something like how only a mother could love and hope that something that started out this ugly could someday be beautiful . . . but then, they all DIED.  That’s right.  Every last baby bird died.  We turned the sprinklers on the yard without realizing that the nest was in the line of fire and each little bird drowned.  Oh, we felt so very badly. 
I was rather perplexed disgusted guilted mixed with emotion when Cali told me that all the baby robins had died, but mostly I was mad at those baby robins’ mother.  Suddenly I had no profound thoughts about her being a mother, but rather accusations.  Where was she when they had needed her most?  She’d squawked at us whenever we went near the tree but suddenly when there was a real crisis, where was she?  Why didn’t she protect them and shelter them from the water?  I felt quite unkindly towards her.  Later when I peeked into the tree to see the sorry sight for myself, guess what I saw?  The mother.  Drowned herself.  Oh, the saga.  Suddenly my mother robin was much more than a cheerleader to those ugly little babies — cheering them on to featherhood and red-breastedness — she was a pureblooded hero.  She did all she could in the line of fire to protect the innocent.  She was an unsullied example of a mother and a patriot.
It is not likely I will die in an act of bravery, no military in their right mind would put me on the front line or as a night watchman, nor is it very likely that my death will be in a gallant act of service.  And yet, I can remember and emulate those examples of heroism.  I can see that those stories and ideals are passed on to future generations so that they can remember that someone paid a price for our freedom and we should never take it for granted or expect someone else to provide it for us.  I can live every day as a memorial day . . . and always be mindful and grateful that my safety comes at someone's willingness to defend me and stand in the line of fire.  

Here are a few Memorial Day observance ideas that  suggests and which also teach future generations of its origins: 

  • visit cemeteries and place flags or flowers on the graves of fallen heroes
  • visit memorials
  • fly the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon
  • fly the POW/MIA Flag as well (Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act)
  • participate in a “National Moment of Remembrance” at 3 p.m.  Americans everywhere are encouraged to pause for one minute “to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all”
  • play or listen to Taps
  • renew a pledge to aid the widows, widowers and orphans of our fallen dead and to aid the disabled veterans
Memorial Day is also known as the kick off for grilling and camping.  Here is one of Calvin’s favorite beef rib rubs.  Calvin is great on the grill and I’m great with the dishcloth and broom following behind him.  It’s a match made in heaven (and by the way, Happy 29th Anniversary to us this past weekend!).

Beef Ribs
2 racks of beef ribs (2 ½ -3 pounds each)
3 Tbsp paprika
2 tsps cayenne pepper
2 tsp mustard seeds
3 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin

Rinse the ribs under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels.  Combine spices in a small bowl or spice shaker.  Sprinkle about 1 Tbsp of rub on the meat side of the ribs and ½ Tbsp on the bone side of the ribs.  Let the ribs set for 30 minutes to 1 hour and preheat the grill to 250-290 degrees.  Grill ribs for two hours.

A Happy Memorial Day to you . . . and a huge thank you to our fallen dead and the families they left behind.


Susan said...

Dear Jane,

I just KNEW you would have a Memorial Day post. I KNEW it! Not a wedding, or a graduation, was going to stop this post from happening! I knew it.

And it did not disappoint! I love your patriotic posts. They make me feel, well, very patriotic! Thank you so much for writing them! Thank you so much for being so very patriotic! Thank you for making me think more about our country!

I love you, Jane!

Alisa said...

I just read this outloud to my kids. We are driving back from a morning hike and we have talked a little about why we have Memorial day. I knew that I would be able to come here to find more to share with our family.

Happy anniversary, happy memorial day-

Derek-Jenny-Kaitlynd-Ethan-Dylan said...

I hope everything went beautifully. I am sure it did!

Happy Memorial Day. I know that I woke up this morning thinking of those who have passed in my life and how they were a hero to me. Thank you for shining it in that light.

Jill said...

Wow, I'm exhausted for you considering all you've been so busy with! I'll be looking forward to seeing pictures and reading about these events.

The shot of Ty saluting Hydn is just too cute.

Lynn said...

what a darling picture with Hydn. ty looks so handsome. Do you have to be handsome to be an officer? I wonder if it helps. Surely can't hurt? I hope the wedding went well. I thought of you all every moment of this week.

michelle said...

I knew you'd have something inspiring here today, Jane! I'm sad that we didn't get to the cemetery today - it was raining like crazy until now and now I'm putting Eva to bed...

Becky said...

Thanks for the great reminder with the adorable photo.

Happy Anniversary to you and Calvin--and hope you recover soon from your various ailments!

P.S. Looking forward to more photos and info about the wedding...

melanie said...

Your patriotic posts are the best. I get chills. And I LOVE the photo with Ty and Hydn. It's frameable!

It might be awhile before I blog it but thought you'd think this is funny. We were driving through the cemetary here, to see all the flags and both Milo and I were giving the kids a lesson on Memorial Day. It was quiet and we were watching the flags/people and Reed yells out, 'Why are we here? This is SO boring!'. Message lost on him for sure! In his defense the park was next and I'm not sure he could take his mind off of it.