I hope you all had an amazing Memorial Day weekend! I am so thankful for holidays, and for the change of pace they bring. Some of the sweetest memories I have from my childhood revolve around gathering with people I love, and I think this points to the importance of taking time to slow down and celebrate. Celebrations also present a unique opportunity and challenge to not get caught up in the details of the day, but to reflect on the reason why we are gathering together in the first place. With that in mind, I have put together just two simple ideas for how to honor those who have laid down their lives for our country, our freedom, and our families, not only as we celebrate Memorial Day, but throughout the year.
Ask the veterans in your life for stories. If you have the privilege of knowing someone who has served in the military, ask them to recount any stories they may feel comfortable sharing. This is a great way to honor their experiences to grow in respect for those who have put their lives at risk for the good of our country. It is so easy to forget that the people around us have walked through many different experiences in life that have shaped them into the person we see. I have found that just by taking the time to ask a simple question about someone’s past, you can get an entirely new perspective and respect for who they are today!
Incorporate red poppies. The red poppy flower is a bright and cheery bloom, but it has a meaning that runs much deeper. As beautiful as red poppies are, they are technically a weed, and signify resilience. They were first celebrated as a symbol of resilience and hope during World War I, when red poppies flourished in a battlefield, just a few months after devastation had taken place and many lives had been lost in that very place. In 1915, a brigade surgeon was particularly touched by the sight of a red poppy field where many soldiers had lost their lives a few months before, and penned the poem “In Flanders Field,” which then popularized the red poppy as a way to honor our military. With this history in mind, incorporating red poppies can be a great way to remember the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf. If you can’t find any red poppies fresh, consider making some out of crepe paper as a craft with the kids in your life and helping them practice thankfulness as well!
Ultimately, I am so thankful for the sacrifices that have been made, not only by those who serve in our nation’s military, but also the families of those who serve. We truly are a blessed country. Regardless of how you spent your Memorial Day weekend, I hope it was relaxing and filled with wonderful memory-making as we remembered those who have fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy today! I will leave you now with a thought-provoking quote I recently stumbled across:
“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy, forget in time that men have died to win them.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt