Today was a blue sky, warm, sunny day ~
the kind of day that beckoned us to squeeze in a long walk to a meaningful place.
We both needed to reflect and remember.
Our destination was the “Flags of Honor” display in our favorite park. This Memorial Day weekend, volunteers from the True Patriots Care organization installed 300 American flags in remembrance of the 300 Illinois servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives since September 11, 2001 to protect our many freedoms.
We walked slowly up and down the rows of flags waving wildly in the breeze. Stopping at each flag, we read the name tag, listing each hero’s name, branch of service, age, and hometown. I was searching for one special name ~ a student who attended the school where I taught. I look for his name whenever we visit a Veterans’ Memorial. I wondered who else might have come this weekend to search for Christopher’s name. He is always remembered and honored, quietly, by his family, friends, and all who knew him.
As we stood beneath the branches of a beautiful gingko tree
gazing upon those 300 flags,
we thought of all of those Gold Star families
whose fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives
made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.
We must always remember to honor them…
and keep their spirit alive.
Next we walked across the park to Veterans’ Square,
where our Memorial Day parade had ended just a few hours earlier.
Small, white crosses, with engraved, brass nameplates
honored each of the local heroes who died defending our freedom.
We paused to honor all of these men and women
in a very simple, yet meaningful way.
I chose a soldier who served in Korea (like my dad)
and my husband chose a soldier who served in World War II (like his dad).
We each laid a long stemmed, red rose against their crosses
as a small token of our gratitude
for their brave service and great sacrifice
to preserve our way of life in America.
We must always remember…
☆ So grateful to the volunteers from True Patriots Care
who donate their time, throughout the Midwest,
to honor our troops, veterans, and first responders.