Our True Colors…

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A patriotic display at the 3 French Hens French Country Market, along the banks of the historic Illinois & Michigan Shipping Canal.

Hi Friends,

We are celebrating Memorial Day weekend across our country… and our colors are showing! Americans always think of this weekend as the unofficial start of summer. Our hot, humid, rainy days in the Midwest suddenly do feel like summertime!

The delicate blossoms of Cranesbill Geranium, Lilies of the Valley, Daisies, Allium, and Spirea add color to the garden in mid to late May.

The delicate blossoms of Cranesbill Geranium, Lily of the Valley, Daisies, Allium, and Spirea add color to the garden in mid to late May.

Our perennial and herb gardens are flourishing with all of our recent rains. This week, our Friendship Garden bed is just beginning to show its lovely Springtime colors as pale, pink Peonies, light purple Iris, and deep purple Siberian Iris bloom in abundance. Clematis vines fill the arbor with fuchsia and purple blossoms. Springtime color is everywhere!

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Yesterday I gathered Peony, Daisy,  Anemone, and Ajuga blossoms to fill a festive vase. The small, red, silk poppy was made by veterans in our veterans’ hospitals.

In honor of Memorial Day, our true colors are the most important ones on display everywhere. Our flag on the front porch is blowing in the warm, May breezes. Pots of geraniums are all abloom with tiny flags, too.  Small red, white, and blue bunting hangs across the archway in our dining room. A white, stoneware pitcher is filled with a collection of American flags.

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Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, in Elwood, Illinois.

Last week, when I drove into the grocery store parking lot, I noticed an elderly man, sitting quietly near the door. He proudly wore his VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) uniform and held a big bunch of red, silk poppies. As shoppers exited, he greeted them and collected donations for our veterans. Of course, I couldn’t wait. With my donation in hand, I walked right over to thank him for his service, made my donation, and accepted the red, silk poppy with so much gratitude. When I asked where he served, he named several battlefields in Korea. I told him that my dad also served in Korea, and that I recognized some of the same battlefields from my dad’s stories and carefully documented Army scrapbook. He kindly asked me to thank my dad for his service, too… and I promised that I would. Later, as I packed all of the ingredients for our Memorial Day celebration into my car, I knew that the most important thing I brought home that day was the small, red, silk poppy.

The simple tradition of wearing a silk poppy pinned to the lapel dates back to 1918. Inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” by Canadian poet John McCree, the red poppy is a symbol of remembrance for all of the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. We show our true colors when we observe this special ritual over Memorial Day weekend.

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During visits to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, prayers for peace and quiet gratitude, for the sacrifices made by these men and women whose lives were lost in service to our country, always bring tears to my eyes.

One of the most important ways that we can show our true colors is to help our children, grandchildren, and students understand the significance of Memorial Day. Hopefully, during their lifetimes, a day will come when we no longer have to send Americans into harm’s way. When my sweet neighbor, Karla, comes to visit, she always notices the flag that hangs on our front porch from May through November. Sometimes we talk together about why we display our flag and what it means. Now that she is seven years old, Karla is just beginning to understand our true colors.

On Memorial Day, the flag is raised quickly to the top of the staff, then slowly lowered to the half-staff position, to remember the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country.  At noon, the flag is raised to full-staff for the remainder of Memorial Day. This ritual of remembrance helps remind us not to let their sacrifices be in vain and calls upon us all to continue to work for liberty and justice for all.

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The Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial, in Marseilles, Illinois, is the first memorial of its kind, honoring our fallen by name, while the conflict is still going on. Since 1979, every year right after Memorial Day, the names of servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives over the past year are etched into the granite of the Wall.

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… and so many other brave men and women who made the the ultimate sacrifice.

Remembering those who gave their lives in the Middle East.

Remembering those servicemen and women who gave their lives in the Middle East.

We all share the hope that no more names will be etched on The Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial in the years to come…

Bundles of letters sent home during World War II

A vendor at an antique fair told us recently how she found this collection of letters written during World War II. These bundles of letters document the lives of men and women in service to our country. It would be so interesting to read the stories these letters hold.

In 2000, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, asking Americans to stop and remember, at 3:00pm on Memorial Day.  As we pause to remember, it’s so important to remember the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. While volunteering to help our military families, I was fortunate to hear the stories of mothers, wives, and sisters whose loved ones are currently serving in the Marines. Today we are fortunate to have email and Skype to keep families close during military deployment. While volunteering with Operation Write Home, I learned just how important it is for families at home to receive a letter or card from their hero, written by hand from the heart. My mom still treasures the letters that she received from my dad while he was serving in Korea. Their cherished bundle of letters, still tied with a ribbon, is such a tangible reminder of the sacrifice that so many families make in service to our country. Military families continue to experience the ultimate sacrifice, as precious lives are lost or changed forever. Our military families show their true colors every day!

 

How will you celebrate Memorial Day this year?

Do you have any special Memorial Day traditions?

This Memorial Day we are adding an extra-special event to our Memorial Day weekend. My parents are here visiting from Arizona. Today we are having a very special family gathering to celebrate my parents’ 64th wedding anniversary!! ♡ What a blessing to celebrate this special day with both of them!! We will share their memories of their wedding day, planned while my dad was away serving in the Army. Luckily, Dad was granted a very short leave and arrived home on the day before his wedding! He moved his new bride across the country, to live near the military base. Before long, my mom had to carry on bravely at home, as her new husband shipped off to serve our country in war. Such a heartwarming story of true colors and true love! ♡♡

Cherish the day!

♡Dawn

 

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16 thoughts on “Our True Colors…

  1. Dawn, your parents’ story is very much like mine, only it was the Vietnam war. My fiancee was drafted–something we had not planned on. He came home seven days before our wedding after not seeing him for a year and a day. Thankfully, he served the rest of his tour in Washington, DC so I could go with him. That’s how we came to settle in this part of the country. My whole adult life has been defined in one way or another by that war. Thank you for expressing so well what it’s like for loved ones back home while we wait and hope they’ll make it back home intact. Many don’t.

    Congratulations on your parents’ 64th anniversary. They survived much to make it to this day and obviously have a beautiful, loving daughter to show for it!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Cathy! ♥ Your true colors and sacrifice, in service of our country, make tears in my eyes. Your wedding day plans surely gave your fiancee something to hold onto very tightly during his terrible, frightening days in the war. What a joyous celebration your wedding day must have been, Cathy! You had so much to celebrate! Your family’s service really did impact the rest of your lives. I’m grateful that you were able to share your true colors with us on this special morning. Happy Memorial Day!

    My brothers and I feel so very blessed to celebrate my parents’ 64th wedding anniversary with them today! It will be so nice to share their special memories of their wedding day. They truly are a Fairy Tale couple, and have lived their lives showing us what love and a happy, loving marriage looks like. We are so grateful for our amazing parents! ♡

  3. Big hugs, dear Kim! Thanks for always showing your true colors and for being a very special part of our family! Sending love on Memorial Day! ♡

  4. This was just wonderful to read on this special day for our country and those who have served Her best. I look for ward to a visit with you soon! We have a lot of activity here at our home…giving it some extra TLC! All the best, Louise

  5. Oh, thank you, Louise! It’s a perfect day for the Memorial Day parade and to remember those who have sacrificed so much. I’m looking forward to a summer get-together, too! I’m planning several TLC house projects here, too. As our home approaches the century mark, she needs a bit of extra care! Thanks so much for stopping to visit today, Louise! ♡

  6. Beautiful post. I hope you will extend a sincere thank you to your Dad for his service and a hearty congratulations to your parents on this wonderful celebration of their marriage. I hope your day is full of love, laughter, and good memories.

  7. Heartfelt thanks, Judy! I will pass along your sweet wishes for my parents. They will be here soon! We have a lovely, sunny day for our celebration. Enjoy your Memorial Day celebration, dear Judy! Wishing you a great week in the garden! ♡

  8. Thank you, dear Dawn, for remembering the sacrifice of many that have given all. I do hope and pray that my grandsons will never have to go to war. I truly don’t understand why there is so much hate in our world. I’m praying for peace on this Memorial Day. Please thank your dear parents for the sacrifice they both endured during the war. Please give them my hardy congratulations on their marriage of 64 years!!! That is such a wonderful testament to their love of each other. I know you are cherishing every moment, dear one. ♥

  9. Such a sweet, thoughtful thing to say, Martha Ellen! I read your words of gratitude and celebration to my parents, after sharing our wonderful friendship with them. 🙂 I could see how much your words touched their hearts!♡

    I share your prayers that your grandsons will never have to go to war. I often think of all of my past students with the same prayers. When we were visiting the Middle East Conflicts Wall, we walked along slowly looking at the rows upon rows of names. Sadly, we came across the name of a student from my school who gave his life in service to our country. I remember when the PTA presented his family with a flag that had flown over Congress, to honor his service and the sacrifices made by his entire family while he was serving our country. Both Memorial Day and Veterans Day have always been so important to me. Thank you so much for visiting today and sharing your true colors with us all, Martha Ellen! ♡

  10. What a fitting tribute to all whom we remember on Memorial Day, Dawn and the time you took to honor the Korean War veteran is touching. Yes, that poppy was the best thing you took home.
    64 years! Wow – and how nice that they have been able to spend this time with you and that you could extend the thanks of a fellow veteran.
    We had a very nice Memorial Day this year with our daughter and her family up in MN. So much fun with the grands.
    I do remember my childhood Memorial Days, which I’ve blogged about in the past. They were spent at the cemetery, where small flags were placed, and where an honor guard was. We had a small picnic there, as did many others, and I still remember the 21 gun salute. How loud and frightening it sounded to a little girl who would later realize how horrible that sound must have been for those fighting.

  11. Thank you, dear Penny! Memorial Day is so very important. I always wanted my students to understand this special day of honor and remembrance. Thank you so much for sharing your childhood memories of Memorial Day, Penny. What an impression the 21 gun salute made on you as a young child! Your patriotism and true colors have shone so brightly ever since. So happy that you were able to spend precious time with your family in Minnesota over the holiday weekend! I know that you brought back many special memories! Thank you for being here, Penny! ♡

  12. Dawn, congratulations to your parents. 64 years! What a life they’ve shared. There is so much painful sacrifice and heartbreak with every war. Like you, I hope that one day these memorials will be part of a distant past.

    Your garden sounds wonderful. I’m so happy summer has finally arrived in your wonderful corner of the world. xo

  13. Heartfelt thanks, dear Alys! I will pass along your sweet words to my parents.♥ They are back home again in the desert, where the temperature is already 115. It’s so important that we remember the true meaning behind Memorial Day. It means so much more than just a fun, three-day weekend.

    Our rainy weather in May has made the garden green and lush. For the past two weeks, I have been picking big bouquets of peonies and sweet bouquets of daisies. A full day of gentle showers yesterday left all the tall stems and blossoms hanging down. Hope they will perk up a bit in the sunshine today. This week, I will plant my sweet pea seeds and think of you, Alys! Wishing you a nice week! ♡

  14. Welcome, Tammi! Heartfelt thanks for your kind words. I’m so glad that you stopped to visit tonight, too. Hope you will visit often and join in the conversation! 💗

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