Memorial Day Memories
For me, just like for many of the folks reading this article, the Memorial Day Holiday is a time to both make and reflect on special times. Some people know years ahead of time what they will be doing on certain holidays be it Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, or Thanksgiving and Christmas. They know because they have long standing family traditions, obligations, or special occasions often planned around certain holidays. I’d imagine most of these events are fun, relaxing, perhaps exciting, and will likely include lots of outdoor activities as well. Whatever may be bringing your friends and family together, let’s not forget about the true meaning of this holiday and for so many who have sacrificed so much to make virtually everything else we do possible. Maybe this weekend we can all pay a little more attention to those beautiful red, white, and blue flags we see proudly flying this weekend. Maybe we can start or continue a tradition of taking a young person to a Memorial Day Service so they too can begin to experience community patriotism, sacrifice, and remembrance.
For me, I have many fond memories of this special weekend. Having been born and raised only a couple of hours north of Indianapolis, this was often referred to as “Race Weekend”. With the running of the Indy 500 and nearly half a million people in attendance it really was a big deal in our neck of the woods! One of my earliest childhood memories of race weekend was taking a break from helping my father’s sister (Aunt Connie) move into a new home near Wabash, IN if I remember correctly. I don’t remember much about the move, can’t swear to the name of the town, or much else about the day. What I can remember though as if it were yesterday, is taking a break (actually it was Dad who took the break, I was probably not doing much more than holding the door or getting in the way in the mid-late 1960’s) from moving stuff into her new home. At that time Dad and I, pulled up a chair under a big shade tree outside, tuned in an old radio, and listened to the start of the race. Don’t remember the year, the winner, how fast they were driving or really any other details, but to me it has always been one of the many special Father-Son times I enjoyed as a young boy.
There were many Memorial Days that saw my Boy Scout Troop (Kiwanis Club, Troop 150, Bluffton, IN) out in the community at memorial services, events, and the much anticipated campouts! Later on, with two young daughters, they too learned early on about Memorial Day. Many in MJ might remember both of them showing up at the community memorial service at Bond Memorial for several years in a row. Dressed in cute little red, white, and blue vests, they provided the Star Spangled Banner in sign language for the hearing impaired. Daddy was sure proud, but I don’t really recall asking them how much they really enjoyed it. Perhaps someday they will write an article like this and I’ll find out.