24 May 2008

Memorial Day

It is Memorial Day weekend, and everyone asks, "What are your plans? Having some people over or going to a barbecue?"

We're going to a friend-of-a-friend's house for a barbecue and to listen to my friend's husband's band play, at least for a little while. The spousal unit is away till tomorrow morning and it gets tough taking all three of them out by myself, especially to an outdoor party. They all run off in different directions, but it's a kid friendly event so I am hoping to run into other people that I know, with kids that my kids can play with, so I can relax a little and have a beer. Or two.

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, the "official" beginning of garage sale season, and the end of the school year. Which are all good things to celebrate, yes? I guess it depends on how you feel about garage sales....I have a love hate relationship with them. It's like eBay in person. I have found some great things for a steal, but at the same time, it feels a little like trolling in the trash. I digress; I do that a lot.

I have to admit that it does make me a little sad to see how few American flags I see flying. There really aren't that many most of the time, but especially on Memorial Day, Flag Day, and 4th of July, it makes me a little sad that people don't fly flags. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to say that ours is not up right now, because we have the kind that you screw into a post on the front porch, and the bracket broke. But as soon as the new bracket arrives, it will go back up.

Last night at Scouts, I gave a little mini-lecture to my kid and his friend, but I know some of the other boys were listening...I could see them watching, and I hope that it did not fall on deaf ears. At the end of the pack meeting, the scouts retire the flag while everyone salutes, and my kid and his buddy were horsing around, chasing the boy who was carrying the flag and generally being dorks. So I told him that I didn't like to see them goofing around with the flag and that it was very disrespectful to the flag. I just said that they needed to behave with respect when they were handling the flag and to show it courtesy, and I mentioned all their family members that were in the military at that moment....between the two of them, there were a lot. I asked them if they knew what the flag stood for and they had a hard time coming up with an answer, any answer.

So I helped them out a little and told them: it stands for our country, and everything about our country. The good and the bad, because there is both. It stands for freedom. It stands for opportunity and it stands for sacrifice. It stands for people who willingly leave their families, their own safety and security to fight and shed blood to defend our right to live in a country that gives so much to its people, and asks so little in return. It stands for people who would rather die trying, than to settle for less than. People who want a better life for those who come after them, and get up and do something about it. No, America isn't perfect, and we have made big mistakes. But there isn't anywhere I'd rather call my home, to live and raise my family.

OK, so maybe I didn't make that big of a speech to a bunch of eight-year-olds who don't get it yet. Not all of it, anyway. But it is how I feel, and what I want to think about, and reflect on this weekend.

So we'll go to our party tonight, and grill hot dogs and hamburgers, and listen to a band play while the kids get eaten up with mosquito bites. Well, maybe not, it's pretty chilly here still. And we'll go to church tomorrow and thank God for all the blessings we have. I will also thank those who came before, who gave their lives so that you and I could live and raise our families, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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