Memorial Day: a time for honoring heroes, memories, tradition


Mt. Pleasant News

I?m sure it won?t come as too much of a shock that my column this week is about Memorial Day. I seem to have lucked out this month to have the columns that happen to land before a holiday, so I haven?t had to think too hard about a topic.

A lot of people look at Memorial Day as a three-day weekend fit for barbequing and spending time with friends, but it is so much more than that. It is about honoring the memory of the brave men and women who have fought for our country, although I fully support grilling out when the weather is this nice!

Memorial Day has always been somewhat sacred in my family, as I feel that it should be. As far back as I can recall, the weekend would start by waking up early to put flags up at the Winfield Scott Township Cemetery with my parents, brother (pre-high school graduation) and any other locals who volunteered their time ? mostly veterans and their families.

As much as I would like to say my family was there simply because honoring the fallen heroes is the right thing to do, we were really there to honor my grandpas - one recently passed (recently is a subjective term, but most of the time Sept. 1, 2002 feels like yesterday) and one who is still on hand to give me a hard time whenever the moment calls for it ? both of whom have military service.

After I graduated from high school, I honestly don?t know if I have made it back all that often to take part in setting up flags, and every year it tugs at my heartstrings a little when I am unable to make it home to help.

This year will be the first year in the last three years that I am coming home to take part in this tradition, and this time I am bringing Scott to help. It will be nice to have the man I?m going to marry take part in this little family tradition. Honestly, it will be nice just to be home.

Aside from setting up flags, my mom and I would go to the Memorial Day services and hear the names read of Winfield?s fallen military men (and women). I?d like to think that someone out there is taking the time to hear Grandpa Moeller?s name read during a Memorial Day service.

This weekend chances are good Scott and I will be barbequing somewhere. A group of guys he deployed with (and their ladies) get together for bonfires and grilling several times a month (when it is warm enough), and there is a high likelihood we will end up spending time with the group.

Any time we get together with the gang (or group, or ? I haven?t really decided on a nickname for the little band of brothers yet, suggestions are welcome), the conversation is usually pretty light in the beginning of the night.

After a few hours, the guys generally talk about their experiences during their deployment to Afghanistan. I think this is pretty healthy. I?ve read about soldiers (and members of other military branches) bottling up their experiences and not really having any sort of outlet and some not-so-great things happening as a result of that.

As much as Scott and I are each other?s best friends, deployment is a part of his life that I will never fully be able to understand. I will forever be grateful for the group of really good men that went through deployment with him and can be there for him in a way I can never be.

On this Memorial Day, I plan on honoring the memory of the men and women who have fought for our country and lost their lives, and also enjoying the company of the guys who still have some fight left in them.

In today?s News you will find listings of times for local Memorial Day services, I strongly encourage all of you to attend these services and honor our country?s fallen heroes.