Memorial Day brings an emotional response in me for many reasons. First of all, I was born on Memorial Day back in the day when it was recognized on May 30th. President Nixon sure did mess that one up for me in 1968 when he changed it to a floating holiday! Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had always felt that having an entire country having a holiday on my birthday was pretty darn cool! (Well, of course I knew not many folks were celebrating my birth, but hey, cool anyway.)
I come from a long line of military members that partly includes my dad and uncles, and I’m married to a wonderful veteran of 30 years’ military service. Our oldest son, James, just retired last year after 20 years in the Navy, and our youngest son, Ricky, is in his first year of military college at the North Georgia State College & State University in Dahlonega, home of the nation’s first gold strike. He’d already completed basic and advanced training in the Army before going to college. I’m pretty proud of all of them!
Memorial Day began as Decoration Day following the Civil War, a time in which people paused to remember the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that conflict by decorating graves. By the 20th Century, a holiday-like atmosphere took sway as folks celebrated the warmer temperatures, adding in outdoor grilling parties and fireworks. Memorial Day could be a somber day if many families hadn’t chosen to make the long weekend a good time to hold reunions and visit the graves of military members who died in service to their country. It is still appropriate and necessary to take moments to reflect on the gift that those who paid the ultimate price have given the United States of America.
Son Ricky and his girlfriend Nicole Tracy are visiting this week and will be in attendance at the Memorial Saturday Donation Drive for Deployed Troops at the Stage/Fountain area in Havana. There’s free live music from four great bands who will play all day Saturday, and veterans will be grilling up some hotdogs for donations, too. A list of suggested donations may be found elsewhere in this paper, but include toiletries, snacks, movies, music, playing cards, etc. You can always call my husband Rick at 850.539.7422 for suggestions, too.
And, please, take a moment or two during Monday’s official holiday to remember the price paid for our liberty.
• A veteran - whether active duty, retired, or national guard or reserve - is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including THEIR LIFE."
• Men who have offered their lives for their country know that patriotism is not the fear of something; it is the love of something.
~Author Adlai Stevenson
• Our fallen soldiers are waving to us thru windswept flags. Take a moment to wave back.
~Author Joanie Morgado
Happy birthday to my husband Rick on Thursday, May 23rd!