May 31 -- Lisa's Musings on Memorial Day 2010
Memorial Day is a red, white and blue, wave-the-flag and-be-proud-to-be-an-American kind of day.
Like July 4 and Veteran’s Day.
I’m so thankful to those men and woman who made – and continue to make – this country the safest, best place in the world in which to live. It’s on these special holidays that I pause and say thank you to every veteran I can find.
And, I’m reminded just how incredibly lucky I am to have been born here.
But this was the first Memorial Day without my dad, who did two tours in Europe during WWII, and the tears began as I drove to the Memorial Day celebration I was covering in Ann Arbor.
I wore my red, white and blue and included an elephant pin with an American flag on it that my dad had given to me. He was a very conservative Republican and today, I wanted to honor everything about him.
Today was about what my dad and so many other soldiers have done for this country and for the freedoms all of us enjoy.
So frankly, I didn’t much care if people in Ann Arbor liked, or didn’t like, the GOP pin I was wearing.
If my dad could bravely serve in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force during WWII, certainly I could be brave enough to wear a GOP pin in Democratic Ann Arbor.
And, as expected, early on, someone took note of the pin.
When I explained its significance, this person said, “Well, there are a few good Republicans around.”
I looked him in the eye and said, “I can assure you, my father was one of them. And so am I.”
I’m sure I made my dad proud. He might have even laughed a little at my brashness. Not that I’ve ever been a shrinking violet, but wearing an elephant pin in Ann Arbor isn’t exactly something I’d normally do.
After a delightful neighborhood parade and an equally enjoyable chat with an Army veteran who had done two tours in Iraq, the tears returned when “Taps” was played at the end of the remembrance ceremony.
The last time I’d heard those bugle notes was at the end of my father’s memorial service in Allmendinger Park in September, which was my next stop.
It was time for a little personal remembrance on this Memorial Day en route home.
My pockets stuffed with tissues, the waterworks began as I started my walk across the park to the bench at the far end of the park. I brushed off the lilac leaves that had fallen on the slates of the bench that bears my dad’s name, and sat a while.
I remembered the good times my father and I had together for the 52 years of my life. It was the first time I’d been back to the spot where some of his ashes had been scattered; where family and friends gathered for his service.
And for the first time since he died, I really broke down and cried.
I wished my dad a Happy Memorial Day, told him I missed him and that I loved him.
Of course, a conversation with my dad wouldn’t be complete without including a “Go Blue,” so that’s how I ended it.
Then I left a mint on the bench because my dad had a wicked sweet tooth just like me. I walked back to my van and didn’t look back.
I hope all of you took a few minutes today to think about all those soldiers who have lost their lives while in the military and all the veterans who returned to American soil but have since gone to heaven.
Happy Memorial Day, everyone.
And dad, Go Blue!