While growing up, Memorial Day meant the last marching parade of the school year.
My mom was big into parades. She would check the straightness of the rows as they marched by and made sure everyone was in step. Rolls of film were filled with pictures of band members we didn’t even know but they wore the hometown uniform so they were known by Mom.
Even after leaving home, Mom would mail me pictures of the Memorial Day parade. The band members were fuzzy from movement and Mom’s quality picture-taking ability couldn’t quite capture it all. She would always include a small note stating, “The band looked good this year. Straight rows and in step. Even their sound was good.” She loved the marching band.
On Memorial Day the parade ended at the cemetery. The road leading up to the top of Rose Hill Cemetery was lined with American flags. We stood at the fallen soldier’s grave encircled with flags and soldiers standing at attention. There were always words of thanks spoken for those who gave their all for our freedom.
Several years ago I was visiting my hometown during Memorial Day. I watched the whole processional again as an adult and it was still awe-inspiring. I stood as a mom with small hands holding mine. Taps played and the echo sounded out through the distance. Silence hung as we stood and remembered.
Every year we remember.
The 21-gun salute shot through the air. Tears fell as we stood on that hill with flags waving and gun smoke filtering away.
Even as a small girl, Mom instilled the importance of remembering.
We remember freedom comes with a cost paid with lives of the fallen and brave.
We honor them today. We remember their price paid and their sacrifice for our freedom.