Well it was certainly not the normal Memorial Day yesterday. Instead of a warm, sunny afternoon in the back yard we spend our day inside, freezing in the damp house with no heat on, trying to make the most of a dreary, rain-soaked day. And we did.
I'm always reminded of my father on these bad-weather Memorial Days. I think about the stories he told of snow falling overnight in the battlefields of Belgium, waking only to try and assess who may have frozen to death during the long, cold night. And I also think about the newsreels we watched in the 1960s every night on the evening news. We saw our troops in Viet Nam, slogging
through muddy rice paddies in full combat gear, or lining up in the pouring rain as they went to the mess hall or ran to the helicopter, always looking wet and tired and as though they'd prefer to be anywhere else in the world in that moment. The images are still with me, and when the rain falls on us as we stand for the ceremonies on Memorial Day I think of them. And of my father in WWII.
It was a somber holiday yesterday, perfect for remembrance and reflection. We enjoyed family and had some fun, eating together and playing games at the kitchen table. But it certainly wasn't the warm and happy gathering of Memorial Days past. And that was OK. It was a good day.