Memorial Day is special for me because it is a three day weekend and the beginning of summer. Another reason is I am a Vietnam era veteran. The weekend is filled with parades in many small and large cities across the country. It is also an opportunity to visit a national monument or cemetery to honor someone who served this country. It is filled with fireworks, barbecues, summer movies and family outings.
Some years ago, my wife and I visited Normandy, France and saw the American Cemetery and Memorial. It is located on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach (where the Normandy invasion took place) and the English Channel. You can hear the ocean, but it has a calming effect on the visitors. It covers 172 acres and contains the remains of 9,387 American military dead. It contains only some of the soldiers who died overseas because the next of kin can have the remains repatriated to the United States.
Near the American Cemetery and Memorial is a museum and former Nazi bunkers along the bluff. This experience leaves a permanent mark with you. Visiting some of the memorials and monuments in Washington, D.C. has similar impact. Have you ever visited a Civil War reenactment? There are a number of them on the East coast. I remember seeing the Gettysburg Battle Reenactment when I was a child. It usually occurs on the anniversary around July 4th..
This holiday is a time where we remember the men and women who died serving in the United States Armed Forces. What can you do to honor the people who served our country? You could visit a cemetery and leave flowers, fly the American flag at half staff, march in a parade or visit a monument. You can still enjoy the three day weekend, barbecue, catch a summer movie and do something with your family too. Celebrate Memorial Day and remember a veteran who served and died for this country.
Photo by: Flickr