Yesterday morning, the family got up and dressed in preparation for what has become a tradition–our town’s Memorial Day parade. As I was going between kids’ rooms, Hannah Grace stopped me:
“We’re going to get candy today at the parade.”
Caleb immediately responded from his room, yelling, “It’s not about the candy, Hannah!”
“But I’m going to get candy,” she replied.
“It’s about our soldiers, Hannah Grace! I’m not even thinking about candy!!”
I chuckled and affirmed Caleb that Memorial Day is about our fallen soldiers, but, yes, Hannah Grace was right, too; people do throw candy from the floats.
Caleb then walked over to me and shared one small caveat: “I don’t care, but if they throw the candy in front of me, I”ll pick it up.”
And pick it up he did. For someone who didn’t care about candy, he did pretty well. In fact, when Caleb was given the task of picking out 15 pieces of candy from his bag, he agonized over the decision as if I told him his sisters were hanging off a cliff, and he could only save one.
Caleb’s intentions were pure–he wanted to reflect on the true reason for Memorial Day–but he got lured in by the candy and the fanfare and an excuse to go swimming. I, too, have trouble keeping my focus.
There are many veterans in my family, but I have never personally known someone who died fighting for our country. And while my family and I pause every Memorial Day to thank those who laid down their lives, to thank the families who have one less person sitting around their table for dinner, we cannot truly appreciate their sacrifice.
We are thankful, but we are thankful for something we do not fully understand. So to those who understand all too well, all year round, I hope you can accept our gratitude, even if we are naive. For one thing that I do understand is that if it were not for the brave men and women that you love, I wouldn’t enjoy our freedoms with the ones I love.
I started this post yesterday, but I think it’s going to take me a few more days to figure out this summer routine. I keep convincing myself that the kids will sleep later so that I can, too. Of course, we all know how that theory turns out. Anyway, here it is, a day late.
Does your family have any Memorial Day traditions that honor our fallen men and women?