Honoring Them All

Memorial Day weekend:  Yes it's the unofficial start to the summer season (and boy do we NEED a summer season), but it's also time to remember those who served our country.  While I didn't attend any parades this year and I did spend the weekend at the shore trying to enjoy the sun and surf, it doesn't mean that I don't remember and appreciate those who have sacrificed so much for our country.

For my family, the history of serving this country goes back as far as the American Revolution.  While working on a school project about the states, I was reminded that my ancestor, John Kilbury, fought at the Battle of Bennington which took place in August of 1777.  Legend goes that he fought for the American side only after being captured (having fought for the British) and given the opportunity to switch sides or be locked up.  The tale also goes that after the war, he settled in New England married and had several children; conveniently forgetting that he already had a wife and children across the Atlantic Ocean.

Moving ahead in history, there are also members of my family who fought in the civil war.  While fighting for the Union, they were captured and sent to the infamous Libby Prison.  Somehow they survived, but apparently did not live long after their release.

As for the great wars, I know that my maternal grandfather was too young to serve in WWI and then considered too old to serve in WWII.  However, my husband is named for his grand uncle (his maternal grandfather's brother) who fought and was killed in the Battle of Anzio.  Safely tucked away in our home is the flag that was presented to the family in honor of his sacrifice.

In more recent family history, my father in law served in Vietnam in the Navy (despite not being able to swim). My father was in the reserves and his younger brother made the army his career.  He traveled the world and was stationed in such places as Germany and Korea (I remember tales of rats in the latrines in Korea) before retiring as Lt. Colonel.  Sadly, he died too young, but he lives on in my memory and my son is named in honor of him.

It may be important for me to remember all of these people, but is is more important that I pass this history onto my son.  To make sure he knows what Memorial Day stands for.  We may have spent time this weekend enjoying the beach, we have also taken time to reflect on what the day means and why we need to remember and be thankful.  That is the legacy that I want to make sure I pass on not just on Memorial Day, but every day.

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