Memorial Day Weekend.
I don't know about you, but after this heinous winter I am more than ready for 200% humidity and thunderstorms every evening at rush hour. The deck furniture sports its cushions. The flower beds are popping with color which theoretically should last until autumn and the one week of 0% humidity we have here on the Coast of Illinois.
But, I digress.
Memorial Day is more than Summer's welcome mat. For those of you who live outside the United States, and maybe a few of you who do...this is a designated time to remember and thank those who have served or continue to serve our country.
As a ten-year old, I was more interested in protesting than thanking. The Vietnam War was in full swing. The nightly news was filled with stories of Laos and Cambodia and long-haired men in khaki jackets and long-haired women in flowy dresses and flowered headbands waving protest signs.
My neighborhood buddy and I spent hours, hiding out in the back room of our chicken house devising clever protest slogans and dissing the current administration. Christy wore one of those green khaki army jackets.
There was nothing I wanted more at the time than to wear one of those over-sized, heavy canvas, khaki green jackets. I begged my Dad to allow me to wear his. I begged him over and over. To which he always replied, 'you can wear one when you enlist and get your own'.
This really annoyed me. Mostly because I was only ten. I was being denied an awesome fashion statement because of my age. (It never occurred to me that, as a woman in 1970, my job in the military would have been pretty much limited to secretarial jobs or nursing. This inequality would have triggered another wave of chicken coop protests.)
Military service has always been controversial here in the Land of Free Speech. Sometimes we forget that our freedom of speech is directly protected by those same people, policies and actions we condemn.
I think the jacket Christy wore had belonged to her Dad and she wore it in support of her brother who was in one of those exotic sounding Vietnam locales. She DID NOT wear it in support of the war.
And that is an important distinction. It is a distinction that our country has been slow to learn.
I am lucky. There is a long history of military service in my family. Everyone came home.
|My mother's dad - WWI|
|My father's dad - WWI|
|My father-in-law WWII|
Thus making my son an actual Son-of a- Son- of a- Sailor
|My Dad. Army Reserve.|
That adorable baby would be me.
Neither of my children have chosen to serve and I can't say I am sorry. But many of my friends have children and spouses in service. And to them I say:
Say thank-you in a more concrete manner by supporting our Veterans through the many organizations available. The ones closest to my heart provide support for PTSD and injury recovery.
For my friend Penny in honor of her son Adam...
Have a wonderful holiday weekend. Drive safely. Wear your seat belt and sunscreen. Cook all pork until 145-160 degrees.
And HELLOOOOO Summer!
|The rare Coast of Illinois Flamingo in its natural habitat.|