Dead men and women who wore a military uniform for the protection of all of our rights as a free people…that’s what the weekend is all about! Not hot dogs, or parades or sales at the mall. We honor those who fought and died for this great country – period! And, we do it collectively as a nation on this one day of honor – Memorial Day.
When a mother or father is handed a flag at a funeral, some of the pain is masked by a sense of pride that a son or daughter gave his or her all for his or her country. The solemn process of guns going off in salute, the folding of the flag, a single trumpet masks the heart-wrenching reality of another life taken way too soon. When the sun slowly drops over the horizon and the sky turns to black, every survivor knows all too well how life will go on all around them but life for them
becomes a kind of hell on earth. From the moment the casket is closed, and the awareness that you will never see that person again slams your heart, you feel a pain like no other on this earth. Your soldier, or sailor or marine or airman is gone, and the crushing grip on your heart reminds you of this fact every waking moment of your life. Deep into that dark night when those around you sleep the sleep of babies at peace, you lie in bed clutching a pillow to your heart as you drift in and out of the nightmare that feels like it will never end.
Know this, dear ones who suffer such anguish, without heroes having flags folded for them, we would not be a free nation. It is for those brave souls for whom Memorial Weekend was created. It is their courage that we celebrate each year at the end of May.
If I could make a wish that would be granted it would be that thousands of you and your friends and your family would come to Calumet Park Cemetery on Sunday, May 29 at 1:00 to share in a wonderful and appreciative celebration in honor of all of our nation’s fallen warriors. An hour out of your holiday weekend will not change the fun you will have away from your normal, every day activities. However, for those who have had the unenviable distinction of being handed the folded flag at a loved ones funeral, a large turnout of freedom loving people does lighten the despair a little…just to know that the death of their “soldier” was not in vain.
For the complete Memorial Weekend schedule, go to the post for 5/11/11, and please remember what has become a cliche to some, but is the bitter truth: freedom is not free!