Memorial Day Weekend

Arlington_National_Cemetery_graves
http://www.nationalservice.gov

Did you know that Memorial Day in the United States was originally called Decoration Day and originated for Civil War soldiers? For many decades after the Civil War, northern and southern states honored their fallen soldiers separately. The service changed after World War I to Memorial Day and included all fallen soldiers who served in the U.S. military. ย In 1971, Congress designated the service as a national, 3 day holiday weekend. Since then, it hasย expanded to signify the beginning of summer fun. On American television this weekend, you can re-watch countless war movies. While spending time with family and friends is valuable, it is crucial to remember what the holiday is truly about.

Like Mother Like Daughter
Navy boot camp graduation–like mother like daughter

As a history teacher, I spend a lot of time discussing the cause and effects of war and its ramifications to individuals, families, communities, and nations. Today, I would like to share that I am part of a long military tradition. I am a member of the DAR whose ancient relative was a drummer boy in the Revolutionary War. Another relative was a Colonel and Civil War doctor. My step-father served in the Korean War as a UDT for the Navy. My father served in Vietnam. My ex and I served in the Navy. My niece, nephew, and daughter served in the Navy. Fortunately, we all came out of our tours of duty relatively unscathed until my son. For the Army, he served two tours in Iraq and was involved in a hummerย crash. As a parent, seeing him and other wounded warriors at the Walter Reed Hospital in Maryland and the Richmond, VA brain trauma facility was humbling and excruciating.

steve 001
In a coma for a week, his left side was battered.

This weekend I am not listening to controversy and the trend of the media to swim in the gray waters of governmental condemnation. This weekend, I thank my son, and all the wounded warriors. I thank those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. While it is nice we sit comfortably in our recliners watching war movies on television or throwing our Frisbee at the picnic or attending ball games and celebrating the beginning of summer, it is most important we pay homage to our fallen soldiers.

My son at Walter Reed with his daughter after one of many surgeries
My son at Walter Reed with his daughter after one of many surgeries

While it is worrisome and depressing to focus upon the tragedies and futility of engaging war, it is also a fact our freedom for which we enjoy today comes to us with a precious price tag. I am grateful to the wounded warriors and those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for my behalf. I highly recommend watching the annual Memorial Day commemoration on national television set in Washington D.C. It’s hosted every year by Gary Sinese and is a moving experience.

41 thoughts on “Memorial Day Weekend

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  1. Good to see your son recovering, and interesting to hear about your family tradition in the military. My Dad was a regular soldier until 1946, but I was never inclined to follow in his footsteps.
    I hope that you and your family have an enjoyable holiday weekend.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Thank you, Cindy, for the great post. I am happy for all of you and for your son’s accomplishment as well. You’ve certainly made me realize again just how precious our freedom is.

  3. Amazing post! I am reblogging, my friend. My husband, a Vietnam vet who saw action, salutes your husband and you. God bless you for your service on our behalf! ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

  4. Reblogged this on Odyssey of a Novice Writer and commented:
    It’s an honor to reblog Cindy Bruchman’s post about Memorial Day. Cindy hails from a military tradition as well as a rich historical one. Cindy, like you, I have an ancestor who fought during the Civil War. My ancestor, Braxton Bragg, was a confederate general and it took me many years to digest that fact since I’ve always been pro-union and a Lincoln enthusiast. My husband fought in Vietnam, an unpopular war. He came home, life and medal intact, and made a good life for himself. But it made him – and me – cognizant of the cost of war. Cindy was in the service. She says she came home unscathed, but her son, a veteran of the Iraq war, was not so lucky. Cindy, I salute you and your son. And I say thank you on this Memorial weekend.

  5. Cindy, forgive me – I meant to say we salute your son for his service, and I mistakenly typed ‘husband.’ I am embarrassed and sorry. I hope you know I meant your son.

  6. A very moving post. My husband and I both come from rich military backgrounds with history that touches every war the US has been involved in. Our youngest son is currently a lieutenant in the Coast Guard.
    Each year we watch the concert on TV and have been fortunate enough to have attended it. It never fails to bring tears of joy and pride in our nation’s warriors, as well as tears of grief for the wounded and for those who didn’t make it home.
    We visit Arlington a couple times a year. It is a humbling experience, and one which all American’s should know.
    Freedom isn’t free. The loss of life, injury, and life-long disability is a terrible price to pay. I pray that everyone take a moment to stop and reflect on that, not just today, but every single day.
    My thanks to you and your family for your service.

    1. Welcome, Michelle! You said it better than I. ๐Ÿ™‚ The ceremony on the lawn is electric, isn’t it? Bless your son for serving in the Coast Guard and three cheers to your entire family for their service.

  7. The curse of life here is that we have ‘a need, Right, and responsibility to defend ourselves’.
    No need for me to go into the cost of that.
    I thank you.

  8. Thank you for sharing this personal story Cindy. I pray for continued recovery and on to even better health for your son. I thank him, as well as you and your family, for serving our country and keeping us safe. Happy Memorial Day, my friend!

  9. Glad to hear you son is doing well now. We often get so caught up in the media debates around war and service (even here in Canada) that we often forget to look at the lives that are actually being impacted on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing such a personal and insightful post, Cindy!

  10. Shared this one with Tennyson, C. Hadn’t realized the North and South had done their own thing until after WW1. No words…about your son. I am just so glad he pulled through.

    Xx
    Diana

  11. Hey, I didn’t know you were a Navy girl! If you don’t mind me asking, where and when did you serve? I was stationed at Oakland Naval Hospital beginning in 1989. I was there for the big earthquake. Then I went on the USNS Mercy for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Then back to Oakland for the rest of my time.

    – Paul

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