To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Showing Thanks

Today I took my boys to three cemeteries to honor the Veterans laid to rest there; my boys placed flags by the headstones. I was planning on taking them anyway, but now that my oldest is a Cub Scout we were able to take part in the event with them.

I had my first visit to a cemetery when I was 7, to bury my best friend, my companion, my Grandfather. Even then I remember looking at the headstones wondering about the stories of the men and women laid to rest there.

It only took 15 minutes for my 4.5 year old to become board and start with the "I'm hungry. I'm thirsty. I'm cold. I'm hot. I want to go home." I closed my eyes counting to 10 to restore my patience when it occurred to me; he had no idea why we were in the cemetery and what we were doing. I knelt down in front of my son, "Do you know why we are here?" He shook his head no, so I explained.

"Memorial day is a day of remembrance of those who fought in our Armed Forces to keep us safe. By placing flags at their graves we are saying, 'I remember what you did for me.' We are showing them respect. We are showing them we care." His eyes widened as he looked over the cemetery at all the flags that had already been placed. He looked up at me in earnest and said, "I want to help. I need to say thank you."

After the explanation of our purpose, he was focused, looking for any sign on a head stone that indicated the person resting there was in the Armed Forces. There was no more complaining or whining; only a single minded focus to say thank you to the hundreds of men who fought for our Country.

This goes to show even a mere child can "get it." I encourage you to take the time to explain it to them. Visit a cemetery. Let them see the flags proudly flapping in the wind. Let the children say Thank You. Let them see YOU say Thank You.


Anonymous said...

The US military has sacrificed more than some will ever know. Time spent away from family, the constant fear of not knowing what is around the corner, and the adaptation to the regular world are all things that service members face. What can you do to help that service member? Well its simple love your country, who cares about the current political views that have puzzled our nation. Our military fights regardless if they want to or not. The stand behind that American flag to defend and to support what it means. So what can you really do? Fly a flag just like you did during 911, if you see a service member shake his hand ask him how he/she's doing. Buy him a cup off coffee let him no that his friends haven't died for nothing.Let him know you love your country as he does.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your sentiments. All very true.

CI-Roller Dude said...

I like the "buy them a cup of coffee" idea.

Unknown said...

Ci-Roller Dude... I would have expected you to add "Doughnut" to that. What? Watching the waist line? I bet you're a sprinkle kind of man, no?