Memorial day weekend is also the weekend in which planting is done and I planted 16 of my tomato plants as well as carrots and some nasturtium. Today is also my youngest son's birthday so as promised, I drove to Dunkin Donuts and bought him some glazed donuts - which is really a labor of love because Dunkin Donuts is 17 miles away.
But the best, most important part of the weekend was the Memorial Day service held in a local cemetery. For the second year, my youngest son played the drumrolls as the roll of local soldiers was called. Thanks to the help of our pastor's wonderful wife, we were able to secure a snare drum and a stand. But 30 minutes prior to the start of the service, we realized that we had no drumsticks. And he couldn't find his good white shirt. And one of the cats had pooped on his good black pants. And we needed gas in the car. A trifecta of calamities.
But we made it to the service in time. With an old pair of black, wedgie-inducing pants, a relatively white T-shirt and two twigs to serve as drumsticks. And it was a wonderful service. One of our state representatives spoke as did a Vietnam vet from our local legion and there was the 21-gun salute which always reduces me to tears. And then finally, Taps. The drumroll was magnificent and you would never guess the boy was using sticks that he had picked off the ground.
And as I stood toward the back of the crowd and listened to the speaker, I thought of all of the men and women throughout the ages who had fought for my country. Many of them paid the ultimate sacrifice and ALL of them were ready to die for us. I thought about how I felt when my oldest daughter was in Iraq and how at times, I was extremely angry that she had offered up herself. Not angry with her, but angry that I couldn't bring her back home safe with me. How many hundreds of thousands of mothers have felt the same way?
It seems as if the audiences for these types of ceremonies has grown thinner and thinner throughout the years. And I wonder if there will come a time when only a few old-timers will attend and will remember our fallen service members. I wonder if I'm one of the last of a dying breed who stands in a cemetery on breezy, sunny spring day looking over a field of graves with flags flying in the wind. I hope not. Because if we forget the past, how will we ever know the value of our freedom?