|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
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 Air Force Academy America, and seeing the servicemen’s garden of trees planted in honor of those who fell in – first I need to say thank you to those men and women who died to leave Viet Nam free for the rest of us. America
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
showed me this nest full of baby robins. Cali
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 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. Cali
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 www.usmemorialday.org 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!).
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.