Monday, May 30, 2011

How I Taught My Son the Meaning of Memorial Day

Posted Today


source

I live near St. Michaels, MD, an affluent resort town that just happens to have the most wonderful coffee kiosk and the best iced coffee ever.  Today, when I drove to get one, I noticed a severe slow-down of traffic in front of the estate?  farm?  estate, I suppose, of a man known for his complete embrace of all holidays.


I was astounded.


Cars were parked by the side of the road, and my glimpse as I passed by showed the most amazing Memorial Day tribute. Apparently, the man collects WWII memorabilia and even has a fighter plane on his estate.


I was in tears on the drive all the way home (my coffee was free, by the way, because I was a veteran, but that's not why I had tears streaming down my cheeks).  I decided to come back with my camera and my eight-year old son and teach him what Memorial Day is all about.


On the drive there, I explained in age-appropriate terms how war wasn't what anyone ever wanted, but it was a part of life, part of what freed people from tyranny.  He already knew from school lessons a bit  about the Revolutionary and Civil wars, the Underground Railroad and such, but I also explained that even now, wars were going on across the world, and they were complicated.  His father and I both were in the military, but his daddy really was put in harm's way many times -- Bosnia, Iraq, and places unknown to me, flying in airplanes as a linguist for most of it.


We talked about respect for those who lost loved ones, regardless of our feelings about war in general, and walked up on the tableau.


This man had put a LOT of work into this.



He had put up so many white crosses, and then mannequins in the uniforms from Revolutionary, Civil War, World War I, World War II, and current day.  The empty spot, I'm imagining, is from the Korean War, or the Forgotten War.  Rick's father fought in that war, and absolutely refuses to speak of it.  (Click for a larger photo).


There were the wife and child with flowers for the grave of a fallen husband and father.


More soldiers to the side, from World War II, I'm imagining from the uniforms.


Uniforms my husband has worn.  When I think of the dangers he put himself through in his twenty-six years.... and then when I realize I lived in South Korea, next to a land where the ruler was a complete crackpot, all the chemical warfare drills we all went through start to mean something more than an annoyance.


More of the broad view, showing the scope of work this man did for Memorial Day.


And, along with the flag, a symbol of freedom.


Flags festooned the long lengths of white fence.  Zack took in all of this with a quiet, contemplative look on his face.  Not a look of fear, but a look of , dare I hope, appreciation.  Appreciation for what this man had done, appreciation for the dozens of cars that stopped to take pictures, appreciation for what I was quietly telling him.  Appreciation for his parents, who did their part, and understanding, in his eight-year old capacity, that things don't always make sense in the world, but people believe in things, and we should respect them.


Respect is something I've been trying to teach Zack daily.  Respect for others, for things, for quiet time, for waiting turns.  Sometimes object lessons come in unusual ways -- such as driving down the road to get a coffee on Memorial Day.




Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

40 comments:

  1. Absolutely wonderful post Lori! I'm sure Zach took in a lot today, and this is something I believe he will always remember!

    Wow, pictures are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your trip to get coffee on this day :)

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  2. And I forgot to add- thanks to both you and your husband for your service!

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  3. Lori,
    Thank you for sharing this post! It is absolutly amazing the work the gentleman put into the memorial is just stunning and humbling. Thank you and your husband for the service you gave our country!
    Beth

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  4. Happy Memorial Day, Lori. This man's display is totally astounding. So happy you went for coffee so we could all see it. Does he do this on other national holidays? Veteran's Day? July 4th? Very impressive. Happy Memorial Day to Rick, too.

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  5. What an amazing tribute, and a history lesson your son isn't likely to forget Lori. Thanks so much for sharing this experience. And for all you, your husband, and the many people who have served, my deepest thanks and appreciation.

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  6. What an amazing tribute. A history lesson your son won't likely forget. My appreciation to you, your husband, and all others who have served. Thank you.

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  7. First of all, thanks to both of you for your service. In this upside down, crazy world, it is these signs of respect and honor that bring hope for a brighter future. Thank you so much for the wonderful pictures.

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  8. What a wonderful tribute to all those who have served. Thank you for sharing!

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  9. Wow. WOW! That is incredible! Thanks for sharing. And thank you to you and your husband for serving our country.

    My father was in the Korean War as well...I was 37 when he died, and he only mentioned it 3 times during my life, and all 3 involved a death on one side or the other.

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  10. Lori I have been thinking of you on this day of remembrance of all who have served and fought for this country and our freedoms. Thank you and your husband.
    I am amazed at the tremendous work this man did to honor Memorial Day and all of the various services and families and lost lives. This is a great lesson for all of us and this visual work of honor puts it in better prospective for those of us who never served. Thank you so much for taking the time to get your camera and drive back to show and teach Zack and all of us.

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  11. A lovely, meaningful and touching post today Lori.
    Thank you for sharing your day with us. What a wonderful and labor intensive tribute you documented by photos. And so very important to share with our children what an important job our military does. I know it means even more to your son because you and your husband are very much a part of today.
    And thank you so much . . . to both you and your husband for all you have given to all of us. There is no way for us to repay you, there are no words that are right enough. I hope that you know in our hearts how grateful we all are.
    Thank you so very much.

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  12. Lori,
    I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. It is awesome to see the effort this man has put into honoring those who SO deserve it. My husband and I have a lot of Military customers at our shop (we are very close to Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base)and even though my husband served 12 years Army (before we met)he makes a point to sincerely thank each and every one of them for their service, as do I. And thank you for your service!

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  13. Glad you could teach your child something meaningful in a way that is a bonding experience for both of you. Thanks you for your family's service to our country.

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  14. Glad you could teach your child something meaningful in a way that is a bonding experience for both of you. Thanks you for your family's service to our country.

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  15. Thanks, Lori. How meaningful to see respect in such a visual way - such a learning opportunity for all of us. Zack is a very lucky little man to have such wonderful parents who can teach him first hand about Memorial Day and patriotism. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Awsome post, Lori! Thank you for your military service!

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  17. These pictures have left me breathless, Lori. I lost my grandfather recently and he fought in WWII. He used to tell me stories about the war and now that he's gone, I wish I'd listened more often. This is such a wonderful lesson for your child, Lori and thanks for sharing it with us.

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  18. Memorial day is really a great event. Here in Germany the people usually forget about the sacrifices our soldiers made for us. That's a shame.

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  19. Wow, this is incredible. Thanks for posting the photos Lori. I'm going to show them to my husband.

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  20. Thank you for sharing, it brought tears to my eyes.
    a very beautiful Tribute. Hope you don't mind but I shared this with my husband(Viet Nam vet)and a few others that I know will really appreciate this. Taking the time to shown and teach your son is a wonderful thing. it is what will make him a good man and that is a Tribute to you.
    Sincerely
    Karen

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  21. Phenomenal post Lori. Thank you for sharing!

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  22. Lori, this is amazing! Thank you for sharing with us and, yes...thank you for serving us in a way that most of us will never fully understand or appreciate. My sons have both considered military service and if either decide to go that route, I will be extremely proud. God bless those who fight for freedom and those who support them!

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  23. Thank you and your husband and all those who serve. Thank you for your lesson to/with Zach. This gentleman's memorial/observance is truly humbling. May we all take the time to respect and thank.

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  24. Thank you Lori.. to you, your husband... and all Veterans...
    from the bottom of my heart.
    Take care,

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  25. How very moving and what a truly awesome tribute this man has put in place. Thank you Lori for taking the time to explain this to your son and thank you both for your service. This Memorial day has been especially hard for us. As you probably know our son is only back from Afghanistan for less than a month. He wakes with nightmares, he wakes thinking of his fellow soldiers his buddies, and then realizes that they are not coming home. It's important as a nation that we honour the sacrifice for our country that our sons and daughters have made throughout history.

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  26. What a stirring tribute. And thank you for the reminder that our children need to learn that freedom isn't free and that we honor those who serve our country. I honor you and your husband, Lori. Thank you.

    Enjoy the day!
    Erin

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  27. that is amazing! thank you to and your husband.

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  28. Lori,
    Just amazing! I'm in awe that this gentleman in St. Michael's took the time to create such a moving display - it s a great visual to really pay tribute to servicemen and women from the past and present. I would have loved to see this display - no wonder you went back for your camera!

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  29. Oh Lori, What a wonderful Post. and to think that someone took the time and energy to create such a display of apperication and patroitisum This is what I see as a time when you have the chance to have long quite talks with your son the memory last for a life time, I know as this is what I use to do with my son when he was Zack's age we took 2 to 4 mile walks every morning in the summer we talked about everything and we still do. THANKS for your's and Miks service. Be Blessed

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  30. Hi Lori, what a wonderful thing you did for Zack today,and every day he is one lucky little man to have you for a Mom and visa versa your post really touched my heart i have a great deal of respect for anyone that has bravely fought for what we have today so thank-you to both of you take care ttfn L:)

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  31. Awesome post, Lori! What an amazing tribute! Thank you and your husband...for your sacrifice. Our military men and women sometimes don't get enough thanks. Freedom is very precious and sometimes we forget there is a reason we live in the land of the free. Thanks for sharing this with us!

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  32. Wow this is amazing to know that someone went out of their way to make us all remember what Memorial Day is really about. Thanks to you and your husband for fighting for our freedom!

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  33. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. 'They' will never be forgotton as long as Moms like you teach their children what Memorial Day is really about. God Bless you and your family.

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  34. Lori,
    Thank you for your service. And thanks for sharing this with us.

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  35. Amazing!!!!
    Oh yes, and have a look at that: http://kokopellidesign.blogspot.com/2011/05/and-winner-is.html

    Congratulations! :-)

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  36. You are a great mom and Zach will remember this day the rest of his life. He's a lucky little guy.
    My husband was born in Bosnia.

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  37. That has to be one of the best tributes to our fallen soldiers that I have ever seen. And what an incredible opportunity for Zach.

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  38. I'm so late with reading this post, but I just want to say Happy Memorial Day, Lori. Thank you for everything you've done to serve our country!

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  39. My husband and I both served in the military. We deeply respect the servicemen and women. Great article.

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  40. Both my husband and I were both in the military. We respect all the men and women serving. Great article.

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