Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!


It is hard to believe another year has passed, and it is once again Memorial Day weekend. The pools are opening, the amusement parks are in full swing, and it means only days left of school for my little ones.
In fact, I think we often times forget what the Holiday is truly about.

In our Church Bulletin, there was a funny story goes....
One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed 7 year old Alex staring at a large plaque in the foyer of the church. The plague was covered with names and small American flags. Alex asked what it meant and the priest replied, " Well, son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service." Finally, little Alex's voice, barely audible and trembling with fear, asked, "Which service, the 8:30 or the 11:00?"

I thougt it was funny, but also a pointed reminder of what Memorial Day is really about.

But, as so often happens, people simply spend this Holiday at cook-outs with friends and family. And, in all honesty, that is what we have been doing, too. I see fewer and fewer American flags hanging from homes, including our own. Why haven't we bought one yet, I wonder? The day will pass, and it slips my mind again. I am hoping, since I am typing this post, it will remind me to get out there and buy a flag before the 4th of July arrives.

So, since I don't have my flag hanging, I did want to take this time to remind myself and others what is so important about this day. And, that is honoring those men and women who have fought for our freedom. For all of those who lost their lives.....often times so young....for the life I lead today. And, for the lives of my children.

For, if it wasn't for one specific military man, Wilbur Keckhut, my children wouldn't even exist today...nor my wonderful husband. So, today, I would like to honor him and all the others.

Wilbur is my husband's grandfather. But, none of us ever got the opportunity to know him. And, I find myself thinking of him often. Why? I am not sure. He is not a blood relative to me. But, he is to my spouse and my own children. In fact, just a few months ago, I was spending hours on the internet looking up long lost relatives...his brothers/sisters. Because, we have never had the chance to meet them, cousins, etc either.

Wilbur was killed in World War II, when his daughter was a baby. That would be my mother-in-law. It was May 4, 1945 when a Kamikaze attack on his ship, the USS Ingraham, near Okinawa, took his life. He was only 25 years old! They have a wonderful write up on him here, and we appreciate that this information is posted. For this is all we really know of him, and I am glad I have some information to share with my children.

I think of this, and realize this was how old my husband was when he and I got married. Our lives were just beginning at that age, but for his was the end. He never had the opportunity to see what a wonderful family he fathered. He had a wonderful daughter. He has four wonderful grandchildren, and now he has six great grandchildren ( 3 of which are my very own kids ).

The chance to live a full life and see and experience the beauty of his family was snatched away from him while defending our nation. And, although I cannot fathom what it must have been like during World War II, to live through Hitler, the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor and the terror, I do know there are families today going through these same losses and terror today as their young children, their spouses, fathers and mothers go off to war and some never come back.

So, today, on Memorial Day, God Bless all the past, present and future men and women who defend our nation.
And, in one final note, we took the time to explain to our eldest today what Memorial Day was about, since he had an idea. And, it was a great day today to introduce him to the story of his grandfather. And, as only a beautiful child does, while saying his bedtime prayers, he made sure to mention Grandpa Keckhut and ask that God is taking care of him! Amen to that!


Carrie said...

Wow! He looks a lot like Ryan. Don't you think?

Andrea said...

Great Post!!

Carrie @ said...

I know..isn't it funny that he looks so much like Ry! Everyone in the family has always said Ryan took after him, since he is the only dark haired of his brothers and so much taller/bigger than the rest of them.

But, I think is nice one of his grandkids looks so much like him. :-)