Memorial Day: Bravery
Today's Snack: For something red, white and blue, try a bowl
of blueberries, blackberries and strawberry halves with a little vanilla yogurt
or whipping cream.
with an elder in your family
you with stories for an "oral history" of your family's military service
Memorial Day is a time to stop and
pray, as we reflect on the sacrifice of those who have laid down their lives so
that we might live in freedom.
In Washington, the day dawns as the
President of the United States traditionally lays a wreath at the Tomb of the
Unknown Soldier. Those who attend the early morning ceremony will be able to
read some of the words engraved at the heart of Arlington National Cemetery. There's
a Latin inscription which, translated, says: "It is sweet and fitting to
die for one's country."
This idea, which was written before
the birth of Jesus, comes from the Roman author Horace.
When the cornerstone for
the Tomb was laid in 1915, a time capsule was placed within it containing
several items from our nation's history: a Bible, copies of the Declaration of
Independence and the U.S. Constitution, plus a U.S. flag (1915), and Pierre
L'Enfant's map design of the city of Washington, D.C.
There's a lot of
symbolism in our military history. For example, U.S. Marines wear trousers that have a blood-red
stripe down the length of them, symbolizing the battle that the early Marines
fought in Mexico's Halls of Montezuma. The Marine officer's sword, which is
called the Mameluke sword, is curved,
reminding us that President Jefferson ordered the Marines to storm the shores
of Tripoli, Africa. He wanted to stop Muslim terrorists from kidnapping
"Where do we get such men?"
General Dwight D. Eisenhower asked in amazement when he saw Army Rangers
scaling the heights of Pointe du Hoc in Normandy on D-Day.
The truth is, we get them from the
same places we've always gotten them -- from the farms and factories, from villages,
suburbs, and big cities, and from America's churches.
How can you be a part of this
Most families have at least one
member who served in the U.S. military and should be honored every Memorial
Day. You would do your family a big service if you would arrange to do an "oral
history" of one of the members of your family who served in the military, to
record for your family's descendants the things that that person did in
An "oral history" is an interview,
or series of interviews, in which you ask a few questions and someone else
tells stories that reveal things that happened in the past. You could
tape-record your oral history, or take notes and write it as a report that you
could keep and re-read every year on Memorial Day.
If you like to draw, you could make
illustrations that would go a long way toward bringing these stories to life.
Perhaps your elder could help provide a few old photographs or show you where
to download maps from the Internet to show future readers where the military
service occurred and a little about that part of the world.
Perhaps every year on Memorial Day
you could interview a different elder to get those war stories and tales of
courage and sacrifice written down as keepsakes for your generation, and the
generations to come.