In the last few years we have tried to create our own Memorial Day traditions. This year just did not work out.
Memorial Day was one of my favorite non-gift giving holidays. As a kid, we would always go to visit my Mom's and Dad's families in Port Clinton and Marblehead, OH up along Lake Erie. In my earliest memories, we would go to the parade (standing up each time an American flag went by) then cook out and play all day with our cousins. If we stayed with my Dad's parents we would fish all weekend. It was the official start to summer for me.
Later, when Port Clinton added the Walleye Festival, the town had two parades. We only went to one, but I can never remember whether it was the Walleye Parade or the Memorial Day Parade. As young adults, we would camp out at my parents' old farm house (my grandparents' house) that was on the shore of the Sandusky Bay. We had three acres to hang out on and would invite as many friends as we could to go up for the weekend. We would swim, fish, have camp fires and just have a blast. Dad always had all of the inner tubes inflated before we got there. And he always found a way to get a TV with the Indy 500 close to our beach. (I only ever watched the last 5 minutes.) We would all go to the Walleye Festival at least one evening of the weekend.
Things have changed quite a bit now that my grandparents and parents are all gone. The old farm house is gone and the new house isn't ours either. I haven't been fishing in more than 12 years.
Though in past years we have hosted a big cookout for family and friends, this year we ended up going to a high school graduation party instead.
Today while my husband is at work, I had planned to walk a 5-mile Memorial Day race. I've done it a couple of times before and it is a good race. Heavy rains and lightning kept me at home instead. (Unfortunately, over the last few years my husband has had to work all holidays that fall on a weekday.) I ended up using the free time to clean.
Cookouts, parades and 5-mile races seem insufficient to recognize the sacrifices the many men and women made and continue to make to keep us safe. We live in a great country, one of the safest in the world, and I'm thankful I have so many choices to celebrate the freedom we have -- even if I spend the time cleaning.
So, this Memorial Day weekend, I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy yourself, your family and our country. And don't forget why we have the freedom to make these choices.