Wow, For the first time in 2 months I have a weekend that doesn’t have a chunk of time set aside for someone else or some other duty. Add an extra day and I really feel like this could be something special!!!! BBQ – Check, Time in the shop to create – Check, Big Race on Sunday – Check, Sit down and say a few thanks for the men and women that paid the ultimate price for my freedom – Triple Check!
As a boy Memorial Day weekend was called Decoration Day. A day supposed to be set aside for decorating the graves of America’s fallen warriors. It wasn’t always Monday, it was always the last day of May, and the attached weekend was special. Included was the family’s first trip to my Grandparents lake cottage on Lake Wawasee. That meant getting the dock in the water, something that the men did with help from the older kids. My job – simple – go somewhere else and do something else. My best friend Jon Parker and I would take advantage and go play baseball (we were always the Tigers), or we would go fishing or turtle hunting in the channel. Sunday was set aside for the big race. The Indy 500 used to take all afternoon when the cars didn’t go 200+ mph. We’d have a family pool, everyone dropped a dime in the kitty and pulled a drivers name out of the hat. If your driver won, you got the $3.30. (I won once – Thank You Mario!) Monday we all gathered for the Flag raising in front of the cottage. You couldn’t help but think of those that had died for us as the Flag went all the way up, then slowly came back down to half staff for the day.
I am a rarity in my family. Every other male member of my family served in the armed services. Both Grandfathers in WWI (Grampa Bear actually lost teeth due to a gas attack), Dad was B-24 pilot in WWII with 26 missions before the war ended and during Korea he was a B-29 pilot instructor, My oldest brother Tom served in Viet Nam, and my brother Rick was in the Indiana National Guard. I came of age just as the draft ended, and thanked my lucky stars for that.
So this weekend, as you enjoy the big race and a fun BBQ, join me in a moment to salute those whose sacrifice made our long weekend possible. I will be, and tears are allowed.