Memorial Day Thoughts

I hate to think that this post will soon be eclipsed by others that I hope to write, but I wanted to commit my thoughts to some form of permanence. I’ve said before that lately I have little use for holidays and ceremonies, which is why I ended up being dragged practically kicking and screaming out the door this morning. We spent the weekend with my in-laws. They only live 14 miles from us, but the gas starts to add up at $3.75 a gallon going back and forth. We’re hoping to sell our house and take over theirs, and I hoped this weekend for us to be able to get some work done towards moving into their house. I also needed to get the grass cut, but obviously we’re getting to the point where I really can’t spare the gas to make an extra trip to their house any longer. My mother in law hasn’t been to church in a while, and appreciated the chance to go with us since we were here and able to take her.

Yesterday, my wife told me that her grandmother asked us to go to Memorial Day services at the Legion hall. I didn’t jump into the air with joy and anticipation. I tried to get out of it, but realized that out of respect for her grandmother, a woman I do respect, I should go. We dutifully got out of bed and got the kids dressed and left for the Legion Hall. It’s the same legion hall that we had our wedding reception in only seven and a half years ago. My wife told me it would be fast. I’m an introvert, and I figure I’m a veteran so I can do my own memorial service and not have to leave the house. I wanted to read a book or something.

We got to the Legion Hall at 8, and nobody was there, so we went to Wawa for coffee. We got back to the Legion Hall for the brief ceremony. Only the commander, my wife me and the kids, and my wife’s aunt and grandmother were there. I helped Joshua put the wreath in the ground. We moved from there to another ceremony at a park with a memorial set up. More people were there. Then we were asked to go to the ceremony at the township municipal complex. We went. That one is usually bigger, but the township has a baseball game so the entire schedule was moved up and a lot of the activities at the town hall were apparently moved to the baseball game. I honestly don’t care about the game, and I would have refused to go if asked. I would have drawn the line on that. It was already getting hot and the boys, while good, were reaching their limits.

While the other two ceremonies were quick. the one at town hall went on for a while. It included several speeches, including the mayor, a teacher, a "gold star mom" (who’s son died in Iraq), a state Senator from a neighboring district, the two state representatives from this district, a minister, and two school essay contest winners. It took a whole hour. They asked for veterans to step forward, so I did along with others. Joshua stepped out with me. I sort of feel uncomfortable claiming to be a veteran at 34, but I did serve and I have an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, which qualifies me for membership in the VFW if I so desire. As I said, I stepped up with the other veterans, spanning several generations.

It was definitely good to get out. I need to somehow reign in my introversion. I recognize that it is a part of who I am; what makes me unique in this world, but it shouldn’t be my master. We’ll hopefully be joining this community soon, and getting to meet others was nice. This is the kind of township/community that is made of of many long-term families. My wife’s grandmother pointed out that she knew the state representative when he was five years old.

The ceremony was very sobering. I’ve thought about rejoining the reserves as an officer since I have my Bachelor’s degree now. It did make me think of how deep that commitment could go.

As you go about your Memorial Day traditions, if you don’t already, please stop and think of those who served. I obviously came back, but please think of those who didn’t and say a prayer for their families and communities. Happy Memorial Day.

Technorati Tags: Memorial Day,ceremonies

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