Musings on Memorial Day

We are a very veteran-heavy family.  In fact, in the course of three generations, every branch of the U.S.Armed Forces is represented save the Coast Guard.  Some of them volunteered, some were drafted, some had very high ideals about patriotism while some were merely doing what they were ordered.  At any rate, all of them were (and are – my little sister is still serving) ready to leave their familiar, ordered lives at the drop of a hat and – if necessary – fight, and possibly….die….in service to their country.  It infinitely humbles me, because the thought of being shipped off to

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My great-uncle trained here before shipping out to France in 1917, where he was blinded in action.

some foreign land to fight for my country scares the pants off of me.  I am a coward, I confess…I could not do it.  And that is why I am so glad, so grateful, that there are men and women out there who are willing to make that ultimate sacrifice for me and my family.

Luckily, my immediate family members who served in Iraq, Bosnia, Vietnam, and WWII all came home safe and sound with their bodies and minds intact (if not irreversibly changed by what they had seen).  They all knew fellow comrades who did not.

I’ve been doing lots of genealogy research lately, and the current quest is to locate, somewhere back in my family, a veteran of the Revolution.  I am really interested in becoming a member of Daughters of the American Revolution, and am convinced there is a member of the Colonial army back there if I can only find the right records.  Well, actually, I did find a great-great- twelve times back or something grandfather who helped the Colonial cause for one month!  Apparently he was like 76 or something and offered guiding service or let the troops stay on his property or something.  Not sure if that really counts as being a Revolutionary soldier, but it still sounds like he (and his son, an uncle not in my main line, who was a recorded soldier) was a Patriot.

It makes me think how easily those Patriots could have all been seen as Traitors if England had won the war.  Traitors are generally not treated super-kindly.  George Washington and all his buddies (including my grandpa a million times removed) could have easily been marched up to the gallows and today we would all be driving on the left.

I am grateful for the freedom I enjoy and for the soldiers who have died to protect it.  May this nation always be worthy of the sacrifices brave men and women have made for it!

 

 

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Weekly mishmash: Holy Week edition

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Cathedral of the Madeleine, Salt Lake City, Utah

We are wrapping up Lenten-tide 2016 and I feel like I really did not live up to my intentions this year for having an introspective, soul-searching season.  I have done better.  I did not give up sweets, coffee, or Netflix.  I intended to read scripture, say the rosary daily, and try to “offer up” all my daily frustrations, anxieties, and defeats.  Most days, however, due to…well…life….that didn’t happen.  So, I have arrived at the Easter Triduum feeling less refreshed, less penitent, and less ready for the joy of Easter than I could be.

Palm Sunday put me in a good attitude for Holy Week.  Littles and hubby and I went south to Utah for the weekend and ended up attending mass at the gorgeous Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City.  After being somewhat stunned into a Modernist-Sixties-Angular coma by our 1969 “Our Lady of the Ski Jump” home church, we were awed and humbled by the lovely neo-medieval cathedral.  The symbolism!  The artwork! The stained glass!  The organ!  The choir!  The kids were too busy looking at all the splendor to misbehave during the 2-hour-long liturgy.  It was a lovely way to begin the week.

I have also been trying to pray a decade of the rosary each day with the kids.  We pray it aloud and talk about the Sorrowful Mysteries.  It’s not much, but it is something.  My kids also really like doing the Resurrection Eggs.  It’s  a fun little activity that brings the message of Holy Week and Easter into a language that kids can understand.  It would be easy enough to make these on your own.  Check out Mandi’s DIY Resurrection Eggs printables at Life Your Way.

Wednesday marked the 17th anniversary of my father’s death; the day always puts me in a pensive mood.  I miss him more now than I did a decade or so ago.  I always find myself thinking, “What would Dad say to that?”  “How would Dad respond in this situation?”  “What would Dad be doing now if he were still alive?”  A lot of what-ifs?  I am sad that he was never able to meet my husband or my children…I know he would have loved them.  My Dad really liked babies and little kids.  I wish definitely I could have had more time with him and I feel lucky that I was able to have as much time with him as I did.

Tomorrow I am trying to get up the gumption to take all four kids to the Children’s Stations of the Cross at church.  Hubby is going to be busy moving trees at the Ranch (a.k.a. our yard).  More on that later!

Easter blessings to all and to all a good night!