Every time Memorial Day and Veterans Day comes around my minds goes to the many times I've attended parades and special observances put on by the cities in our area and the various veterans organizations. Several of those times my husband, Duane, participated in the events as a candidate for State Assembly and U.S. Congress. As a decorated Vietnam Vet he always received a warm welcome. Well, except for a couple of the very left-coast towns.
When our sons were growing up we would get out the picture albums of Duane's time in the Army, read together about why we observed these holidays in America out of the encyclopedia, and after dinner, which was usually a bar-be-que, we'd sit down and watch a movie or documentary on one of the wars our Armed Forces have fought in.
Some will think what we did was to indoctrinate our sons in a pro-war mindset. But, actually we were educating them in the realities of war. We wanted to instill in them an appreciation for those who laid their lives on the line to protect the rest of us, and the freedoms we enjoy, during times of war. We also wanted to make sure they had no romantic ideas about war as boys can have. If the time ever came for them to go to war it would be with their eyes wide open and the cost counted.
There is no glamour in war. War is hell. But, even the Bible states there is a time for peace and a time for war. This is, unfortunately, part of life on planet earth. While we debate and work and pray for peace, wars still rage. And while I understand the reasons some choose a passivist position, passivity never brings peace, only the rule of aggressive, totalitarian governments and leaders.
So, until the earth's weapons are turned into plowshares, let us honor the brave men and women who have served, and even died, on behalf of all of us. I mean, really honor them, not just in sentiment, but with action.
Let's also take the time to not only educate our children and grandchildren about the realities of peace and war, but foster a genuine appreciation for freedom and for those who fight to preserve it.
Here are a few ideas you may want to use to make this Memorial Day a memorable one:
Visit cemeteries and place flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes
Fly the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon
Fly the 'POW/MIA Flag
Participate in a "National Moment of Remembrance" at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day
Renew a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen soldiers
Visit veterans in the hospital
Donate to aid disabled veterans
Also, tune in to my show on Memorial Day with Shauna Fleming, founder of "A Million Thanks". This incredible high school student has collected over 1.4 million thank you letters and emails to send to our current and former service men and women. It's a dose of pure 'feel good' patriotism in action! Just go to www.changingworld views.com and click on the mic at the top of the page.
This Memorial Day make sure you remember, and encourage others to remember, why we have this day off. It's not just about a picnic.