Ours is not a military family; it never has been. Part of me has always struggled to reconcile my disagreement with the policies that send our military personnel into harm’s way with my respect and gratitude for those personnel. I have no family or close friends who have really walked that path, so I do not remember them that way today.
I have, however, had Memorial Day as a day of remembrance modeled for me. Decades ago, we would occasionally visit my Grandma over the holiday weekend. I remember hating it, because we’d go out to the cemetery, and as a small child it had no meaning for me; it was just creepy and boring.
But it meant a lot to Grandma. She had parents, a husband, and both infant and adult siblings to visit. There were probably others – friends, extended family – of whom I still know nothing. I wish I’d had the opportunity to go with her and hear her stories once I was old enough to appreciate them.
Instead, today I remember her, more than twenty-one years gone, and wish I could visit her stone to lay some flowers there. We never got to see her more than once or twice a year, separated as we were by an eight-hour drive, yet she had a profound influence on the person I am today.
So thank you, Grandma. I love you. I miss you. I remember you.