What Are We Remembering on Memorial Day – and Why?
Memorial Day in the U.S. represents a variety of things to different people:
- A day off of work (possibly even paid!)
- The beginning of summer
- Going to the lake
- Having a barbeque with friends and family
- Having to get together with family
- The Indianapolis 500
- Visiting family gravesites
- Veterans parades and celebrations
- Watching old war flicks
For me, especially when getting together with children, teenagers & young adults, I start to think about — what does Memorial Day mean to them? In some ways, maybe it doesn’t matter — “it is what it is” and it is their life. But, in some other ways, I think it is important — for if we are not intentional in communicating what is important to us, then what is ‘important’ ceases to be different from anything else.
So, I was trying to think — how do you make the discussion meaningful and at least possibly relevant to their lives, without sounding like an old man carrying on about the “ol’ days”? Kids like word games. Memorial sounds like memory and remembering. So what is a “memorial” and what are we trying to remember?
Here are some questions to think about, and maybe use as conversation starters:
- What is the opposite of remembering? [Forgetting? Ignoring?]
- What happens when you forget something that happened or someone who was important (or did something important)?
- Do you think it is valuable to us to remember people who have gone before us? Why?
- What impact may forgetting have on us?
- If I wanted to remember someone or something that happened, what could I do to help me recall more about them?
So are we remembering —
- Family members that we knew who are no longer with us?
- Our distant relatives & forefathers we never knew?
- People close to us who have died and we miss?
- Military personnel who have died recently in fighting to protect our country’s freedom?
- Soldiers and others who died in wars long ago?
The answers are unique to each of us. In fact, maybe we need to ask ourselves — why don’t I take time to “remember”? Is it that important to me? And am I okay with that? When I die, do I hope someone remembers something about me? What would I like them to remember?
I’m thankful I have a family heritage of parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles who lived their lives in a way that served as a model for me. And I plan to take some time to intentionally remember them and how they contributed to my life.
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Tags: honoring, Memorial Day, remembering
Categories Appreciation, Gratitude, Holidays, Relationships