Happy Memorial Day

cross_Memorial.DayThis morning Ian asked me what today is all about.  “Mommy, what is Memorial Day?”  he asked.

I told him that it is a day to remember people who have protected us and our country.

The concept of war is totally foreign to this sweet 5 1/2-year-old, but my husband and I have tried to explain that people have fought for us in order to keep us safe.  And, some have died in the process.

“Okay, Mommy,” he said in response.

Although he doesn’t understand all of this, he does understand death — well as much as someone his age can.

Last night on PBS, the Memorial Day special from Washington, D.C. aired.  Ian watched some of this with us before his bedtime. It was such a moving show.  We only saw part of it, but what we did see was packed with patriotism and honoring our Vets.

We started watching it during the honoring of Korean War vets and the memorial in D.C. to them, then a tribute to Charles Durning who was a great actor and Veteran of World War II.   Hearing his accounts of landing at Normandy and all of his buddies that he lost gave me chills.

He was awarded a Silver Star and several Purple Hearts.  I fondly remember him on the show, “Evening Shade” and several other items, but hadn’t realized his bravery in battle.  Thank you Charles and all other Veterans for all that you have done!!

The special also included songs from each branch of the military.  They celebrated the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, and National Guard.  Thanks to all of you who have served or are still serving!  You are awesome and so very brave.

As you know too well, war truly is hell.  I want to take today to say thank you to all veterans for enduring hell on earth for our freedoms!  We cannot thank you enough for your love of our country and your sacrifice.

Thanks also to your families for their sacrifices as well.

Today on this first unofficial day of summer, I am going to remember these fine people and all that they have done for me and my family.

I wonder if I can remember that each day?  I sure hope so since freedom is not to be taken for granted.  Also freedom is never free.

Here are a few quotes about Memorial Day:

  • “For love of country they accepted death,”  ~James A. Garfield
  • “They fell, but o’er their glorious grave floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.” ~Francis Marion Crawford
  • “The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men.” ~Minot J. Savage
  • “The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.”  ~Benjamin Disraeli
  • “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” ~Lee Greenwood

A Swimming Adventure

Yesterday was a major milestone for Ian and I am a very proud Mommy!

We went swimming at the pool in my parents’ neighborhood and Ian swam by himself for the first time!

He was wearing swim trunks and one of those floating vests or life vest and Little Swimmers (so there were no accidents in the pool).

He was standing at the steps into the pool with my mom when he discovered his float helped hold him in the water.  Seeing the twinkle in his eye was a wonderful thing! After that he was ready to go.

When he started moving around on his own, he told me “Mommy, stop, let go of me.”  “Okay Ian, but I am still staying with you,” I said.

So we then went around the pool as quickly as his little legs could kick.  He was truly excited and proud of himself that he was able to do something like the big kids.  It was a real honor to watch!!

We’ll still need swimming lessons and need to work on keeping his head about the water, but this was a major first step in his confidence.

Unfortunately my camera battery was dead so I couldn’t get a photo or on video.  But, I will keep it in my memory for a long, long time!  My sweet boy is growing up!!

What is a hero?

There have been two articles recently about people who the media are calling heroes in the midst of unimaginable tragedy.  Yet neither of them is calling themselves a hero.

That to me is amazing — as are they.

First was the assistant coach of a football team at a school in Ohio.  He helped students during a school shooting.  He truly risked his safety to help the students and helped during an event that could have gone a lot worse.

But, when talking to the media, he said no, he’s not a hero.  He added that he wished he could have done more.

Wow, humility and wishing to do more when you already have done so much!  What a gentleman.

And, then there is the mother who lost parts of both of her legs while protecting her children during a tornado that destroyed her house.   Knowing a tornado was coming directly at her house, this amazing lady wrapped her son and daughter in a blanket, then put her body over them to protect them.

She was interviewed this morning on the “Today Show.”  She said, I am not a hero, I am a mom. She explained that what she did was instinct and like a mother bear protecting her cubs.

Again, wow!  This woman is so humble and now injured and her entire life changed, but she feels blessed since her children and she and her husband are all alive.

Both of these stories brought me to tears and stirred emotion.  Yet they were also so compelling since neither person thought what they did was heroic.  What amazing people!

Too often I think we praise people for the wrong things and celebrate behavior that really isn’t very heroic at all.  Stars of all kinds are called heroes and love to bask in their glory. Yet, is what they do truly a heroic thing?

Isn’t it refreshing to hear of people who aren’t basking but instead saying, I should have done more, and this was an instinctual thing that was done? I think it is.  And, I think that these people and the many more like them should be praised and celebrated as people that we can truly learn from on how to behave.

Merriam-Webster defines a hero as “a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities and “one who shows great courage.”

To me, both of these people showed great courage, as many others so.  For example, this is the same as soldiers do when they are in a foreign land fighting for our freedoms;

  • Or as a fireman does while running into a burning building to see if anyone has survived and then to help them in and run back in to fight the fire;
  • Or as a policeman going to work each day not knowing what dangerous or troubled people he or she will be called on to assist;
  • Or as a doctor traveling to a dangerous country to help someone in need;
  • Or as a missionary and/or the Red Cross going to a country that is dealing with a natural disaster to witness and help clean up the mess;
  • Or as passengers on an airplane that decide to crash it instead of letting it land somewhere where more destruction can be done;.
  • Or as a spouse caring for their dying loved one and supporting them the entire time throughout that journey and the person dealing with the prospect of dying and leaving behind those most cared about.

There are many more examples of being a hero and of showing courage.  Those are just a few.  I’d love to hear from you and know your thoughts.  Please comment and share them.

I wonder if we can live as these heroes and show great courage? It is certainly something to emulate.