THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND, as you fire up the grill, perhaps gather with family and friends or head Up North to the lake cabin, please pause to remember the reason for Memorial Day.
It’s not about the unofficial start of summer or a day off work or whatever. Rather, Memorial Day is a day for honoring those military men and women who died in service to their country. It is a day to reflect on that sacrifice of life, to honor, mourn, remember.
As the daughter of a Korean War veteran who served as an infantryman with the US Army on the frontlines in Korea and decades later received the Purple Heart, I grew up understanding the significance of Memorial Day. I attended the annual Memorial Day program in my hometown of Vesta, publicly read the poem, “In Flander’s Fields,” multiple times, went to the cemetery afterwards, listened to the haunting playing of taps.
My heart holds those Memorial Day memories which prompt me, to this day, to attend a local event honoring fallen soldiers.
Yet it is not the pageantry of a parade, the flying of flags, the singing of patriotic songs, the delivery of speeches or even a poppy pinned to a lapel that moves me the most. Rather, it is the singular playing of taps. Mournful and heartwrenching in a way that grips my soul with grief. For those who died in service. For those left behind.
Memorial Day is, to me, a profoundly powerful day. It brings not only emotions of sorrow, but also of gratitude.
© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling