Sunday, May 26, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

I have always been confused about Memorial Day. I guess maybe because in some ways I can be sticklers for rules. It still is ingrained in me not to wear white after Labor Day and before Easter, although I do force myself to do so on occasion just so I can say "I'm not a slave to fashion", which I really am not...believe me. Oh but back to Memorial Day *okie wonders if anyone saw that squirrel run across her laptop*. As a child I remember going to the cemetery with my mother as she put flowers on the graves of my brother, sister and grandpa and it always confused me since in school we were taught Memorial Day was to commemorate and remember those who served our country in the Armed Forces, so for the life of me I could never figure out why everyone got flowers on their graves. Although I will admit I do not want flowers on my grave, oh heck I don't even want to be buried...I want to be burned and flushed down the toilet while everyone cheers with a Margarita! And if you think I am kiddin, then you just don't know me very well!

Circa 1942
But on this Memorial Day weekend I want to share a little story. My daddy *okie still wonders why in the south a father is always a daddy no matter how old the daughter gets* quit school two weeks into his Senior year so he could join the Navy and serve his country during World War II. Daddy wouldn't turn 18 until November so his dad had to go down and sign papers so he could join. Daddy was never able to finish his high school education and drilled the importance of education into my head, not sure why I was the chosen one in the family to have this preached but I held the importance very close and followed through, even after his death.

Since Daddy fought in WWII he taught me something that most people do not understand today, as an American I have "rights" but those rights are only allowed to stay in place because others have been willing to fight and die to ensure MY FREEDOM. He taught me about patriotism, respect for the flag, national anthem and pledge of allegiance. He taught me what the words meant and not to just listen to those words but to FEEL what it is to be patriotic to our great nation. In our house if the National Anthem came on the TV you stopped whatever you were doing and listened and did not move until it was over, to do otherwise was unthinkable. To this day I can rarely listen to the National Anthem without tears coming to my eyes. Every morning at school when we say the Pledge of Allegiance I mean every word I am saying, much to the extent that when I see someone burning an American Flag I would like to go explain to them and have them understand what my daddy taught me and if they didn't get it...well I would just shoot them in the head and call it a day. Luckily my Super Ego is strong than my Id, at least on most days.

I have never went to my daddy's grave on Memorial day so I can pay my respects. Over the years I have shown my respect in a different way. Every time I saw someone who was in one way or another identified as a WWII veteran, I would walk up to them *okie remembers choking back tears most of the times* and thank them for ensuring my freedom. I let them know my father also served in that fateful war that still allows us to have our freedom to this day and that he taught me about what it means to be patriotic and love my country and those who served and fought for THE GREAT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

So with this little story I would like to tell all of you have a Happy Memorial Day and if you see a veteran of the Armed Services then tell them thank you for ensuring your freedom.

13 comments:

  1. Very nicely put Okie. It brought tears to my eyes. My Daddy (from the south also) was not a vet but he taught us to respect and honor those who did fight for our country. Thank you to your Daddy for teaching you so well. Laura D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Our Dads (I'm not from the the South but I'm pretty sure I did call him Daddy for most of his life) must have been about the same ages. Mine also dropped out of high school and joined the Navy during WWII. And I have one of those handsome young man in uniform photos of him :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank You Okie. I always get frustrated when people are saying it is a day to remember those who have passed. It is a day to remember those who have served our country. My Grand Father served in World War II and because of his love for this country my uncle followed in his footsteps. I have 2 other uncles who have served and since then my sister and I both joined when we were younger. My grandfather left a legacy of USA pride. I remember him this Memorial Weekend. I still call my dad daddy too. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you, Okie. My parents both served during WW II, Mom in Navy, Dad in Army. My brother was in the navy, too. And my husband served 25 years in the Air Force. I, too, tear up when I hear the National Anthem, as well as when we sing "America the Beautiful" like we did in church today. I love our country and honor those who have served and do serve now to protect our freedoms.

    carolyn in nebraska

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sounds like you had a wonderful daddy. As far as your mother decorating graves of non military that has always been a tradition in the south. It was called Decoration Day and it has been going on for years.... since the civil war. It was a time for families to gather at the the cemeteries, clean the graves, have service and then dinner on the ground. Somehow the two got mixed together and just call Memorial Day for most people. Thank God for people like your daddy that fought to keep this courtry free. Jeri Lett

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for this wonderful message!

    ReplyDelete
  7. happy memorial day to you too!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Another beautiful essay! You are a talented, awesome writer! Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  9. My daddy served as a Medic in Korea, and came home with what today, would likely be called Post Traumatic Stress. Back then everyone just said he was "jumpy". As kids, we knew not to touch him when he was asleep or sneak up behind him. Doing so meant that you would likely get hit! To this day I always say "behind you" when approaching someone from behind. My hometown has a Memorial Day Flag raising ceremony at our local cemetery, which sits atop a small hill. Taps are played by a local musician, while volunteers, young & old, slowly raise a row of flags. At one time, we had to force the younger members of the family to go, but now they each race to "get a flag". We have had very serious conversations about the military roles on the way back from the ceremony. They are now getting old enough that they are studying the various Wars in school, and have asked for copies of my pictures so they can take them in to show their participation. It does my heart good to know that we are teaching them to respect the flag and honor our Veterans.
    Shellee

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have a son who is currently on his 5th deployment. I have seen what war can do to a man, a woman, my son. Thank you for writing this. I couldn't read it without tears in my eyes and I appreciate your daddy teaching you to be patriotic. I wish everyone was taught like you were. Thanks Shirley, Freedom doesn't come free for sure!!! A patriotic mom who loves her Army son for fighting for her freedoms...

    ReplyDelete