What is Memorial Day weekend to you? In western New York state, it’s the unofficial start of summer when people with summer cottages take the three-day weekend to go open them up for the season. It’s the weekend you can safely plant your flowers or garden without fear of a killing frost. It’s a weekend of parades, picnics and family time. My husband and I make it an annual event to visit the graves of our loved ones to plant geraniums or leave a new stone. We also go to a chicken-bar-b-q at the American Legion in my home town and enjoy listening to a country music band that we know personally. 

Spending time at the American Legion gets us back on track to what this day is meant to be about. In the small town I am from the Memorial Day parade is led by all sorts of current and past military members in uniform. They walk proudly with their heads held high knowing they served, or are serving, our country. They are a visual reminder to all of us that freedom isn’t free. If one knows these people personally you know they carry invisible wounds of what they witnessed or had to do in their time of service. Some of it isn’t pleasant, and too many people take them for granted or don’t understand the sacrifice they have made.

Our weather man has promised us really warm weather for the weekend with maybe a thunder shower or two on Monday, perfect for any plans. Our schedule is full of music and family events. I don’t have to remember to hang my American Flag because one is always flying in front of our house. (Yes, it’s properly lit at night.) We will enjoy ourselves but at the same time will be honoring our fallen military in our minds. We know our country isn’t perfect, but we’re glad we live here.