Memorial Day: Occasions to Ponder and Give Thanks

It’s true, we do not need a day called “Thanksgiving” to be gracious and humbled. We can have gratitude every single day of our lives, if not for some things, than for someone.

In this case it is for the people who have served in our national military services, giving and straining for the highest achievements such a career can provide. You give the effort, someone else gives their efforts to help you be your best, and in the end, you serve and you sacrifice.

As many ads of the past month or so indicate, many uniformed personnel return and are reunited with their families… in one bodily piece. We can also hope these folks are mentally fit as well as they are physically fit. These ladies and gentlemen are so happy to see their families, and those kids sure are happy to see them, running up to the arms of mom or dad.

On this day of auto racing in the Indianapolis 500, on this day of barbecues, swimming, pickup baseball and pro baseball and other outdoor activities which Americans are privileged to engage in this long holiday weekend, we must remember all of those who are serving now in this country and overseas in the name of freedom and the preservation of those rights we as American citizens hold dear and near.

We should take time to remember the first responders of our emergency medical services as well as those in our Army, Navy, Air Forces, Marines and Coast Guard. We can find special ways to honor them. Think about the veterans languishing in hospitals or at home care, and consider what you can do to help them. No veteran should be alone, or waiting for care when they are in pain or suffering, or homeless and searching for their next meal in a trash can dirty with pet waste, chemicals, and broken glass. Everyone needs someone at some point… what can you do for one of these in need?

Place a flag in a military/national cemetery. Honor your serving relatives who happen to be in the states with gifts, a dinner, something really nice to show your appreciation. Serve them breakfast in bed tomorrow morning, go on a picnic, go to a parade and spend some time on this fine day watching the marching bands and the ROTC corps in their dress uniforms troop the colors and the streets they might someday defend like those who have paved the way for them to receive an education. If your loved ones are overseas, send them an extra special message of I Love You and Thank You, and gather the family for a photo. And hope all of those who are in other nations come back soon and are healthy.

I viewed one of those ceremonies and parades yesterday in Chicago when in the Loop I watched Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth in her sharp, spiffy dress uniform go to the eternal flame area with Mayor Emanuel at her side to place a wreath. Then came the singing of God Bless America and then a profound playing of Taps. All around were proud young soldiers and older soldiers in their fine uniforms and giving salutes and showing such poise during so profound and intense a moment as that was. The parade down State Street followed, with the usual fanfare, the floats, the bands and the folks in command, stirring their charges with reminders to keep in step and to halt and proceed at certain times, and stirring all who attended with their voices meant to get attention and remind us, in a way, to do our best as well.

Wherever you are this weekend, at an airport, on the roads, with your friends and family; whether at home snug and comfy in your library engaging in a good book before a nice dinner served by your cook and staff, or whether you are cooking your own supper in the company of your television and a movie, no matter where you are or what you do, think about those who have paid the ultimate price to ensure you can do just those things.

Pray for peace as you go about your day as well, for world peace and peace of mind, for yourself and for everybody.

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Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

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