Memorial Day 🇺🇸

I saw a great post today by Patriot Ordnance Factory; “ Do you remember the day when you learned that there are those who have fought and died for the freedom and ensign of this great nation? Do you remember the moment, the epiphany, maybe that chill; when reality hit your soul?”
The question immediately struck me deep, and sent my memory spinning into the past. When as a young child, my parents had the foresight to put me into a good private school that taught me so much more than reading and writing.
Of the many things I attribute to my attendance there, one was a feeling of patriotism that inexplicably embedded itself. And even now it grows, and is strengthened by the great things this country has given me.
The exact year escapes me, but I remember I was around 6 years old, and our class wrote a letter to then President Reagan. The exact content of the letter also seems to have faded from my memory. But what hasn’t was the youthful impression I was given, that the leader of this great nation would take the time to write back to us, a bunch of children, with a message of our importance. Surely the letter wasn’t penned by the man himself, it may have even been a form letter for all I know. But the impression stuck all the same.
We learned about history, and where we as Americans had come from. And what it had taken to create this nation, and perhaps more importantly, what it had cost. I was blessed with passionate teachers, who had taken the time to prepare great lessons that illustrated to my young mind the value of the many sacrifices upon which our country was built.
We all have been blessed either directly, or indirectly by the service of so many. The honor of a folded flag is a bitter sweet one I imagine, and one that hasn’t had to pass over my door yet. At times I feel a little shame for hoping it stays that way, almost like stepping back from freedoms altar.
As my children and I walked through the cemetery today, looking at all the flags and flowers, my mind wandered as I explained to them who rests under those stones. I told them stories, and what I knew of those who came before us, and how they brought us here, and where our names came from.
It is my hope that my children can gain the same love of country that I did as a child, and that it stay with them forever.
As I read the post from POF today, it took me back in time, to the occasion described; “ Do you remember the moment?” And indeed I remembered, as a young boy, probably first grade, standing together with the rest of my class as the teacher played the piano. We learned to sing all the best songs; Battle Hymn, Halls of Montezuma, but most importantly the four beautiful verses of the national anthem. Memorization of lyrics was strictly enforced, and my little red white and blue heart wanted nothing more than to know them perfectly.
As best as children can, we sang the Star Spangled Banner. And as if all the history lessons had culminated before my young eyes, they began to weep. I was filled with pride, as though fueled by the strength of those who’s lives had been spent to bring me here. I didn’t know how to explain what I felt, but I knew that I was an American son. And that I too would do anything I could to see that our flag ride the breeze, o’er the towering steep.
Life can change so many things, people may come and go. But it is by no luck or happenstance, that the United States of America has risen to the top. It is only because of the fighting spirit uniquely ours that drives us forward, on the backs of patriots.
-CBM

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