Youngest Daughter pointed out the true meaning of Memorial Day is to remember those who actually died while in service to our country.
Memorial Day was originally called "Decoration Day" and had its start during the Civil War, after the Battle of Gettysburg, when the graves of fallen soldiers on both sides of the battle were decorated with wreaths, flowers and flags.
Our family does have a Civil War veteran in our history, but my great-grandfather Ami Sperry (who was a union soldier) only lost his finger, not his life! Ami's finger was cut off by a confederate soldier's bayonet during a Civil War battle, but Ami lived to have a family after the war.
Wild Bill's uncle Carrol is the only family member who actually fits the definition of a Memorial Day honoree, but Uncle Carrol has no grave in which to decorate as his fighter plane went down in Europe during WWII, and his body was never recovered.
When I was a young child (back in the olden days, but long after the Civil War I assure you) I remember our whole family...from grandparents and uncles to youngest cousins...going to the cemetery and decorating all the graves of our family members who had passed, not just service members.
I do think it was a beautiful thing to do and everyone did it back then in our small California town, not just us!
It was not meant to be disrespectful to fallen military members. In fact my father and almost every one of my uncles joined the military to defend our country during WWII. You can even find one of my uncles, Sperry Stevenson, on the Prisoner of War website as he was held and tortured for many years in a Japanese POW camp.
Both our fathers served in WWII and are now gone. Though they did not die during the war, both suffered from the horrors they saw as young men. I can't help but feel them at my side on this Memorial Day...they both made us better people.
This morning (on a side road) on the way to breakfast, Wild Bill and I passed a young, "20-something" couple sitting on the side of the road with a wheeled basket of what looked like their belongings. The young man had his head in his hands and the girl appeared to be comforting him.
Once we passed them, I quoted to Bill: "There but for fortune go you and I."
And right at that time, I got a message (from our deceased military dads?) that we should not just pass them by, but do something to show we cared.
We went round the block and pulled up beside them and Bill said, "We want to buy you breakfast."
The young man stood up and quietly took the money Bill held out and said, "Thank you."
So now we have started a new Memorial Day tradition for us. We will find one small act of kindness to do each year on this day in memory of our military dads and all those who died in service to our country.
Nothing big...just something random for a stranger. Maybe you'll try it too?
Thanks for dropping by!