During April 2018 I will be blogging about my memories as MOM OF 6 from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Creation and Compassion http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Holiday

Memorial Day has always been a special holiday for me, not necessarily filled with BBQ's and fun activities, but a good day nonetheless.  After all, it is the first official holiday of the summer!

When I was growing up we started out the day by going door to door selling red paper poppies  to raise funds for the American Legion.   The poppies were constructed by disabled veterans from the World Wars as a way for them to earn some money, and represented the  brave little red poppies that grew Flander's Field in France, site of the graves of many brave soldiers who fought in World Ward I.  Selling paper flowers door to door was  a difficult thing for me to do as a child, as I was quite shy and hated talking to people, especially people I did not know.  Thanks goodness for older siblings who accompanied me and parents who encouraged me to overcome my fears to do service for someone in need!

Once this task was completed, my parents would pack up the car with a picnic lunch and drive us all north for about two hours to the small town where both of my maternal grandparents grew up.  We would meet with our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for a picnic lunch in the little town park, and then gather with more relatives from my Grandfather's extended family for a family reunion and genealogy meeting.  Sometimes the children were allowed to skip the meeting and play outside in the park, but I remember attending most of the meetings where I heard stories about my pioneer ancestors and the sacrifices they made in order to provide a better life for their children and grandchildren. 

After the meeting there was usually time to visit the old town cemetery and see the gravesites of many of these brave ancestors.  We would bring a few spring flowers to decorate the graves, and learn a bit more about our family history and background.  Sometimes we would even stop on the way home at a local fruit stand or ice cream parlor for a treat to eat or take home.

The family reunion is no longer held every year on Memorial Day, but is now held every other year on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  I was able to attend two years ago with my sister and parents and two of my daughters, and then this past Saturday my DH was able to come with us too.  It is a good thing to visit the old rock home that my great-great grandfather built and where he raised his family.  It is good to hear the stories once again retold, and to have my daughters hear them too.  We were even able to find some ice cream before heading home!

It is good to take the time for a Sunday dinner with my DH's family, and then travel together as a family to visit my father-in-law's grave, to feel the love that we have for one another, and to have the knowledge that we can someday all be together again as a forever family in the world to come. 

Today is quiet.  DH and DD1 are working, and the other children are scattered.  We aren't together today, but I have a pleasant quiet day to putter around the house and the garden, to write some thoughts and some memories, and to reflect on the blessings that have been left to me and my loved ones; gifts from those who have worked, and fought and sacrificed; gifts from those who have gone before.

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