The Chicago Files

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

 

Memorial-Day

[picture compliments of bing.com]

This is a repost from Memorial Day, May, 2014.  I hope you like it.

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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25 thoughts on “Memorial Day – Honoring & Remembering

  1. Mary says:

    Beautiful and powerfully written piece. We have a lot to be grateful for – Memorial Day gives us an opportunity to appreciate what these soldiers and their families have given us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comments, Mary. To give so fully of oneself for the good of the collective is overwhelming to think about. Cher xo

      Like

  2. Excellent posting. It can be so easy to overlook and take for granted the sacrifices of others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you so much, Kimberly! I agree with you. I think because of my strong connection with the military I feel it is my ‘duty’, per se, to remind all of us about their sacrifices. My grandfather lived until 90 years old. He had an ‘indent’ in his cheek from shrapnel that he caught during a battle during WWII. A physical reminder that I will never forget. Cher xo

      Like

  3. Jan Hobbs says:

    Both of my Canadian grandfathers served in WW I, and my Grandpa Hobbs served again in WW II. I myself am an American vet, having served in the USAF. Thank you for a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Blessings to you, Jan!! Thank you so much for your service, and thank you to your Canadian grandfathers for their service. Extremely grateful to you all!! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jan Hobbs says:

        😘

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Jan Hobbs says:

    Reblogged this on Blissfully Single.

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you, Jan!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dr. Rex says:

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    It’s about remembering the fallen ….. that’s what it is!!

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you, dear Horty!! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your words are truly moving, Cher – I couldn’t agree more. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Ah, thank you so much, Veronica. I appreciate it! Cher xo

      Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you so much, Cheryl! xo

      Like

  7. eurobrat says:

    We have lost sight of what this holiday is really about, and I think this is more proof of how disconnected our country has become from its military. A minority of Americans goes to fight our wars–many of us don’t know anyone who has served. I would hope we’ll take the time to reflect on the real meaning of our three day weekend. It’s not about the barbecue!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you so much for you extremely insightful words. Truly I am grateful that you feel the same way as I do. Thank YOU!! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Amy says:

    I’m in tears… Thank you for the post, Angel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Ah bless! Thank you so much, Amy! But I’m sorry to bring you to tears my dear. Cher xo

      Like

      1. Amy says:

        I’m always in tear when I hear young men died in battles… I’m a small supporter of USO…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. seaangel4444 says:

        I know what you mean, Amy! Me too!! Cher xo

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on Sunshinebright and commented:
    Beautiful tribute, Cher. You have given us a real meaning of this holiday by your understanding and compassion.

    I would never wish anyone a “Happy Memorial Day.” It is a solemn holiday. I was surprised this morning, when, one of the TV commentators, as he was signing off, wished everyone a “Happy Memorial Day.” He is a very intelligent person, and I’m assuming this was a great “slip of the tongue” on his part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you so much, dear Carol. I really appreciate your words. I am sure it was a “slip of the tongue”, as I truly feel no one would intentionally comment with the word, “Happy” given what Memorial Day really stands for. Cher xo

      Like

  10. Kate Loveton says:

    Lovely post, Cher. Eloquent and thoughtful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you so much Kate; I really appreciate your thoughtful words. Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

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