Memorial Day marks the official start to summer. For those of us in the Northeast, it's when we first dare to dip our toes into the abundant lakes and ocean. It's when we open our pools. (For the record, the water is still too cold for any of this, but we're stubborn and ready to rid ourselves of winter's lingering gloom.) It's when we bring on our BBQs, plant our vegetable gardens and hang out our new flags.
It's also the time for red, white and blue mania on everything from popsicles to tableware. I think just about every retail email I received this week contained a "Memorial Day Sale" of some sort. With all of this going on, it is tempting to say we've forgotten the true purpose of Memorial Day -- to honor those who have lost their lives. I'll admit, at one point in my youthful ignorance believing I was more enlightened than everyone else I felt the same way -- Memorial Day was getting lost in all this zeal for summer.
But now, I see the truth. All the family gatherings, parades, dips in the water are done together. All the gardens we plant will give way to bountiful sharing with our neighbors. All the flags we hang wave proudly in the sunshine and cloudy days of summer ahead. In fact, all of this being together is the ultimate tribute to those who have gone before us. It's what they fought so hard to preserve.
It's with great pride that my husband and youngest son put up our new flag pole, pictured above. And it's with great pride that my husband and another son march in a Memorial Day parade paying tribute to Civil War heros (they are Union Re-enactors). It's with pride I make a donation to Operation Homefront. But it's also with pride that I take my other boys to Six Flags with their cousins to enjoy utter silliness. That we giggle with red, white & blue popsicles dripping down our chins. That we tip our hats to our neighbors as they drive by on their way to their own family celebrations.
We're not forgetting what makes Memorial Day so special. We're honoring those who went before us in the best way we know how -- living life to the fullest! Thank you to everyone who has gone before to make this unofficial first day of summer not only possible, but full of abundance and surrounded by those we love.