Today, as if I’m telling you something you didn’t know, is Memorial Day. The majority of people are off from work, the kids stay home from school, government offices and banks are closed, and we Americans typically celebrate by gorging on barbecued foods, various kinds of salads, and lots of desserts. Great day, right?

Hopefully everyone will remember why we celebrate this holiday, and hopefully parents will teach their children that it’s more than just a day off. On Memorial Day, we remember those who fought and died for the very freedoms that we are enjoying today and everyday.

As has been the tradition in our house for the last several years, the boys will be marching in our town’s Memorial Day Parade with many other boys from their scout troop. Our troop has the extreme honor of escorting the vintage cars that carry the Gold Star Families: families who have lost a loved one in combat. Here’s a photo from the 2007 parade:

P5290053 Although the boys grumble just a little bit at first about having to get up, put the uniform on, and spend 2-3 hours in the crowded streets of our downtown, they always realize quickly before they start that what they are doing is important and an honor. I expect them to participate each year that our troop is asked to do it. Frankly, it’s the least they can do.

We have a reminder in our very own neighborhood on a daily basis that freedom isn’t free. One of our neighbors lost their son in combat five years ago. I remember the day the news trucks were parked outside their house to interview them. I learned that that they have lived in our neighborhood for somewhere around thirty years. Their son, David, went to the neighborhood elementary school; in fact, one of his teachers still works there (and taught both of my boys). He was an Eagle Scout.

Our neighborhood reached out to his parents and eventually pulled together to get approval from our township to make a vacant lot here in the neighborhood into a park named for David. When Jim was the younger boy’s cub scout leader, they chose (as their year-end project) to make a bench for the park. It’s still there. Since then, an official sign has gone up, more benches have been placed, and a huge group of neighbors (including David’s parents) landscaped this gorgeous little park.

The park stands as a daily reminder to all of us of David’s sacrifice for our country, and shows what people can accomplish when they pull together with a plan. David’s parents often take walks around the neighborhood and I like to think that going to that park, sitting on a bench and reflecting upon their son brings them just a few moments of peace.

Enjoy your Memorial Day, and give your kids an extra squeeze today!



  • Tara R.

    That is the way it should be… a neighborhood gathering around a family who has lost a loved one in service of our country.

    That is a lovely park.

  • surprised mom

    What a wonderful neighborhood you live in to gather around a family whose loved one has given his life serving this country! The park is beautiful. It’s a great reminder to everyone that freedom is never free. Lovely post.

  • NukeDad

    What an awesome job! It’s good to see that good old traditional American values are still alive and well in some parts of the USA!

  • WeaselMomma

    That is incredible and tear jerking. Memorial day is always a day that evokes emotion from me. I am so proud and grateful for all those who have served from the revolution through Iraq.

  • Kat

    I have to agree with everything mentioned before. It is great to see somebody actually value what it really is about and not just a long weekend…

    That’s why I ♥ you.

  • Melissa

    Your post just gave me chills…what an awesome thing for you and your neighbors to do.

    I could just imagine sitting in David’s park and remembering him…amazing!

  • Michelle

    Oh you’re making me cry. This is what Memorial Day is about, and how wonderful for your neighbors — and really for all of you — to be able to come together in support like this.

  • Otter Thomas

    What a wonderful thing to do in memory of that brave young man. I have been very touched to see all the Memorial Day posts remembering our soldiers. Great post.