Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

While my poor husband has had to work all weekend, I have been fortunate enough to be home with my girls for the past five days, and we have had a pretty busy weekend! Yesterday was our Memorial Day celebration, with my eldest daughter marching in the town's annual parade with her Girl Scout troop, and my youngest and I camped out in front of the town hall watching the parade. This is the 5th time my girl has marched in this particular parade (in her 10 short years!). I thought this year's was the best that I've seen -- some years it feels VERY long and there are an inordinate number of regular cars driving through with politicians' signs followed by politicians walking behind. This year there were just a few of those, more marching bands, which was nice -- and they were really quite good! And while I always see some nice moments honoring veterans, I got a different feeling from it this year. There was a car driven by a veteran that stopped a few yards from us and the driver (in his uniform) got out of the car in the middle of the parade to walk over and salute another veteran who was watching from the side of the parade route. It was very touching!

It was just my little girlie and I watching this year, and she was wonderfully well-behaved! She sat on my lap for most of the parade, and I took the opportunity to tell her as much as I knew about every group that walked by. We talked about the national anthem and how everyone stands to show respect while it is being performed. And I learned something myself at this parade. While one of the fire companies was coming through in their trucks, someone near us yelled to a driver to have them blow their horn (which I had worried about, because my girl does NOT like loud noises!) and the driver said, "Not at this parade - this is a quiet parade." And I thought about that and realized that while I pull out all of the flags and red, white & blue for both Memorial Day and 4th of July, and I generally have a similar feeling about both holidays -- patriotism, honoring our military, honoring our country -- these are very different holidays. Memorial Day is a time to reflect on those serving our country and those who have been lost while serving to protect us. And the 4th of July is still a time for reflection and patriotism and honoring our country and our military, but it's a celebration of the birth of our country and that's the time for fireworks and parties. I'll have to make sure that my girls understand the difference.

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