How I tried to teach my daughters about Memorial day 

I parked in the “no parking zone” in front of Kroger and ran in. I picked up, and paid for a bouquet of multicolored flowers and walked back out to join Ashley and the girls. 

The questions 

Christy asked “are we going to take those beautiful flowers home?” 

“No” I answered “we are going to give them to someone else special.” Christy seemed to accept that answer and then asked, 

“Are we going to Nana and Papa’s house next?” 

“No” I replied “we are going to a cemetery.”

“What’s a cemetery” Christy asked.

“Wait to we get there and I’ll explain it to you.”

Ashley looked over at me and mouthed, “Are we opening up a can of worms?!”

I shrugged my shoulders and replied, “I don’t know.” 

Arriving at the cemetery

10 minutes later we pulled into Highland Cemetery. I had a guess of where to go but I got lucky and ran into a friend on a golf cart directing traffic. I said,

 “I have a funny question for you.”

“I may not know the answer, but if I don’t I’ll make up something good.”

I explained how I wanted to take my daughters to the graves of  those who died in combat. Five minutes later we were parked and walking up a grassy hill with two cute girls and a bouquet of flowers. 

Finding the spot

We found a circle or hundreds of service man and women were buried. They were just about to start a memorial service at the top of the hill and everywhere hundreds of flags covered the lawn. I finally found a section of graves that didn’t have flowers on them. So, I sat Isabelle down and knelt to teach my lesson to Christy (and myself).

The speech

“You know how in church we talk about Jesus dying for us? On memorial day we remember other people who gave their lives to protect us. We put flowers on the graves to say thank you…..” (at this point I choked up and ran out of things to say).

Ashley saved the day:

“You know how in Sunday school Miss Pam talked about David and Goliath? David beat the big bully goliath to protect other people. That’s what these men and women did. They beat another Goliath, another big bully to protect us.”

Christy kind of stopped then and looked around. I think the David and Goliath comparison helped. (Ashley certainly saved my bacon!)

Then we let the girls take a bouquet of flowers and one of the time leave them at different graves. They loved it!

After a few minutes we stopped and I said “come together let’s pray.”

Christy’s prayer

“Can I pray?” Christy asked. (I let her pray hoping to see some of my lesson come through.)

“Dear God, thank you for the food. Thank you for mom and dad and Isabel. Please heal those people who are sick. Thank you for memorial day.”

It was simple and maybe she caught a little of what memorial day should be about. I know that I felt it in the moment I tried talking to them about the lives who are lost. I choked back tears realizing the pain the other people were enduring.

Bubble bursting moments

The financial advisor Dave Ramsey likes to talk about “bubble bursting moments.” He tried to plan times and mission trips for his kids to help them understand that many people don’t have much. He wanted to “burst their bubble” of thinking that what they had was what everyone had. He wanted them to be grateful for what they had and aware of what others don’t have. 

I wanted to plan a “bubble bursting” moment for the girls today. I wanted to model showing gratitude and remembering sacrifice. I don’t want them to grow up just assuming that the world we live in was handed to us on a silver platter. I want them to know that people fought, blood, and died to give them the world they have today.

The rest of the day

We left the cemetery and drove to Nana and Papa’s house. We spent the rest of the day playing in the lawn, cooking out and spending time with family. We celebrated a good, full family life today.

And, about 8 o’clock this evening I tucked two sweet girls into comfortable beds. I kissed them good night and walked out side to enjoy the beautiful night with my wife and in-laws.

I know that tonight many families have gaping holes in their lives. I know that tonight mothers will cry a tear(s)  remembering a son or daughter lost. I know that the privileges I enjoyed today were brought to me complements of the sacrifices, lives, and, bravery of many men and women.

Thank you

I want to say thank you. I will do my best to live gratefully. I will not let my family forget your sacrifice. 

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