For many, Memorial Day means the unofficial start of summer…grilling… outdoor activities…and how it’s now fashionably acceptable to wear white clothes until Labor Day.  It’s important however to remember what it’s really all about.

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When I think about Memorial Day, not only do I take time to pay tribute to the men and women of the armed forces that fought and died for our country, but I also think about my dad and my grandpa specifically.   My dad was in the U.S. Army right between the Korean and Vietnam Wars.  He was never in combat but he proudly served his country.  My grandfather was in World War I and while he didn’t really talk much to me about his service in Europe, I appreciate what he and so many others did while defending our freedom.

 

During this holiday weekend I stopped by Oakwood cemetery in Rochester where both my dad and grandpa are buried.  I brought my wife and ten-year-old son along and shared a couple stories about my dad and grandpa.  Then my son knelt down beside their graves and we were all just quiet for a while.  As we were leaving we passed hundreds of American flags planted next to many tombstones.   Not much needed to be said.  It was a time for honor and a time for reflection.

When we got home, I fired up the grill and we had a family barbecue.  Because that’s exactly what my dad and grandpa would have wanted us to do.  In fact that’s why they (and so many others) did what they did…for all of us.  For that I am forever grateful.  Happy Memorial Day.