The Chicago Files

A CANADIAN EXPAT'S EXPERIENCES AND OBSERVATIONS LIVING IN THE WINDY CITY!

Memorial-Day

[picture compliments of bing.com]

When I first moved to Chicago, I was quite confused about this particular holiday.  Even now it still brings a bit of misunderstanding on my part.  I have people wishing me a, “Happy Memorial Day”.  To me, this seems rather ironic, since the day is about paying homage to those extremely brave men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in duty to their country.

I was told that Memorial Day is all of that which I just noted; however, I guess the “Happy” part is that it also encompasses the start of the Summer season.  I mean this with all my heart when I say I am not trying to judge this dichotomy of today; nonetheless, I still find myself focusing more on those that have made the ultimate sacrifice to their country.

I have asked many Americans the difference between Memorial Day (today) and Veterans Day.  Veterans Day and Remembrance Day (November 11th) are the same day in both the United States and Canada.  Interestingly enough, many people have had a difficult time explaining the meaning of both.  However, I think what I have finally deduced is that Memorial Day represents those we have lost while they are serving their country.  Veterans Day is the day to honor those who have served (or are serving) in the military.  In Canada, Remembrance Day serves as both holidays rolled into one day.

I have a very strong connection with the Canadian military on many levels.  Both of my brothers served in the Canadian Armed Forces.  My grandfather fought in WWII for the entire duration; he was overseas for approximately five years.  I have lived on military bases, and I have worked on military bases.  My respect for those that serve in any military shows no bounds.  When you have the opportunity to meet some of these amazing souls, it brings with it a silent bowing of one’s head, a prayer or gentle thought of respect and gratitude.  I have met some incredible American military soldiers as well; equally, they are dedicated to the preservation of their country and feel passionately about this to their very core.

Many years ago I participated in the graduating ceremonies at a university.  This particular ceremony had taken on deep and meaningful emotions for me.  Receiving a degree was the young wife of a Canadian soldier who had just been killed while on duty in Afghanistan.  He had been one or two credits short of completing his degree; the university presented his young widow with a Posthumous Degree for her fallen husband.  Try as I might, I could not hold back the tears watching this young lady step up onto the stage and reach out to receive the formal degree certificate.  There were many members of the soldier’s unit in attendance; I glanced over at them, wishing so badly I could take the pain away from each one of them.  I wondered how they were feeling; were they wondering, ‘why him and not me?’.

After the ceremony I had the opportunity to meet this young widow.  Unless you have experienced standing in front of someone so young that has lost their spouse to combat, it cannot be easily explained.  I reached out to give her a hug, telling her that the entire university was so proud of her husband, and of her for accepting this award for him.  Her eyes told many stories.  I kept it together at that moment until she left and then I literally broke down in tears.  I had to leave the area because I could not control my emotions.  I think it had a lot to do with her loss, and the feelings of honor I have for those I personally have known who have served in the military.

Thank you to all the men and women who have served their country around the world; bless you for your commitment and sacrifice.

Memorial Day 2

[photo courtesy of destateparks.com]

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33 thoughts on “Memorial Day – Honoring & Remembering

  1. Cher, thank you for this beautiful tribute to our lost, brave armed forces. Beautifully written and with such feeling. I, personally, have not had the same experience, fortunately; however, I was touched by a loss of someone whom I never met. My first husband lost his brother during World War II. He was only 7 years old at the time, and his brother was only 20, but the scars of loss continued to reverberate throughout the whole family, well into their elderly lives. My in-laws were devastated beyond description, and carried this with them till the day of their deaths. The best of the young was taken, for sure. To me, Memorial Day is definitely a day of mourning and soul-searching and thinking of all those lost in all the wars, and still continue to be lost, wherever they are serving. I can’t say, “Happy Memorial Day” to anyone, because I believe it’s not “happy.” xo Carol

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Hi dear Carol, thank you so much for your words. I agree with you regarding Memorial Day. I am so sorry about your first husband’s brother’s loss; oh yes, I am sure it affected many all throughout their lives. Big hugs and thanks my dear, Cher xo

      Like

  2. A very moving and thoughtful post. UK based here, but the sentiments are equally shared the world over…

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Oh thank you so much! Yes, I quite agree they are equally shared the world over indeed! Big hugs, Cher xo

      Like

  3. Don says:

    Beautiful post Cher – thank you. I like the distinction you explained between both those days.

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you so much, dear Don! I know that on Veteran’s Day (Remembrance Day) we will all as equally give thanks to those who have and do serve their country. Bless them all. Big hugs, Cher xo

      Like

  4. Thanks for the great post, as a veteran I never agreed with the “happy” label. Yes we agree to sign our lives away, because that’s what you do when you swear at the oath portion of your military contract. Nonetheless, it should just say, Memorial Day, of course people add all sorts of titles to things that can be quite disturbing. I loved my military career, but the people who deserve the most credit are resting in the grave. Great post and picture.

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you for your wonderful comments! Thank you also for the service you gave to this country. Bless you my dear. Big hugs, Cher xo

      Like

  5. gpcox says:

    My apologies for taking so long to get back here, Military Appreciation Month has been quite hectic. (No excuse, just the reason). You have a wonderful tribute here to the military who gave their all!

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Oh your posts are wonderful! Thank you so much! I am so incredibly proud of our men and women who serve and have served our armed forces across the globe. your incredible tributes have been phenomenal! Cher xo

      Like

      1. gpcox says:

        Thank you very much.

        Like

  6. Gator Woman says:

    This is an absolutely awesome posting Cher. Thank you so much for sharing it~

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Awh, thank you so much, Donna! I really, really appreciate that!! You just made my day, dear!! Cher xo

      Like

      1. Gator Woman says:

        Well, it was true. It was beautiful!!

        Like

      2. seaangel4444 says:

        🙂 🙂 🙂

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  7. longandluxe says:

    Dear Cher,
    What a moving and beautiful tribute you have written. I had tears welling up myself just reading it! I can’t imagine how overwhelmed you were to meet the dear widow. My heart breaks over war and tragedy, yet swells with pride and humility for those who serve so selflessly.
    Thank you for sharing this!
    Peace, always ~ Allison xo

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Awh, bless you, dear Allison! You have made my entire week! I remember ‘literally’ biting my tongue to try and stop the tears when I met that young widow. I agree with what you said; it’s so hard to deal with war and tragedy, but when you see those that step up and serve, it too is overwhelming but in the opposite direction. Bless you always, Allison! Cher xo

      Like

  8. Dr. Rex says:

    On another note … “It Is What It Is” has been honored. We are paying it forward. Know that your work is honored and valued!!
    http://hrexach.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/the-most-influential-blogger-award-from-just-patty/

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Oh Horty! Bless you a million times! Thank you so much! YOU are an inspiration to me with every single post you do! Thank you!! Big hugs and gratitude, Cher xo

      Like

      1. Dr. Rex says:

        Glad you like it!!! We’ll deserved!! Hugs ….

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      2. seaangel4444 says:

        I LOVE it! I have tears in my eyes because I am so grateful, Horty! Wow, thank you! *Happy Dance* Big hugs, Cher xo

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      3. Dr. Rex says:

        “Happy dancing” here with you!! Hugs!!

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      4. seaangel4444 says:

        🙂 “Dancing with Cher to the famous Cher’s music!!!!”

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      5. Dr. Rex says:

        WootWoot!!

        Like

      6. seaangel4444 says:

        YEAH CHER!!!!! (that one, not me!) 😉

        Like

  9. laura kilty says:

    Oh, Cher. What a beautiful and moving post. I am crying here! This is such a fitting and wonderful tribute for those men and women.x

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you, dear Laura! Your words mean a lot to me! I really appreciate your comments!! cher xo

      Like

  10. annetbell says:

    Hi friend, You so graciously nominated me on 5/12 for the Love and Kindness award. I got very behind in passing awards on and only wrote the address which now doesn’t work to your nominating page for that date. I had written http://wp.me/P4doQv-9k/ Would you mind resending it to me, but if you can’t or it is too much trouble. It is fine! Hugs @

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Hi dear Anne! My apologies for not getting this link to you! Here it is and if you have any problems seeing your award, please let me know! http://wp.me/P4doQv-9K It is 4 awards down on the list! Thank YOU, Anne! I love your blog; your writing and sharing is exemplary! Hugs, Cher xo

      Like

      1. annetbell says:

        You are so sweet! Thanks for the honor and the information !

        Like

      2. seaangel4444 says:

        It is I who needs to thank YOU, dear Anne! Cher xo

        Like

      3. annetbell says:

        You are a sweetie. . . .

        Like

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