Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memorial Day at the American Legion

Memorial Day brought a welcome break from the norm of chasing kids out the door on time with lunches, permission slips, and...on a good day...matching socks. 

I stayed in bed long after waking up, wasting a little time on Facebook, even more on Pinterest, and then delving into the book stash beside my bed. After more time than I care to admit, I headed downstairs, crunched my way across the kitchen floor, found an entire box of cereal dumped out on the table, and put the questionably tepid milk back in the refrigerator. Such is the trade-off for temporarily ignoring reality.

At noon we headed off to what has become a more meaningful Memorial Day tradition for our family- the flag ceremony and luncheon at our local American Legion.

The truth is that we were a little late this year, so we missed the flag ceremony entirely. But I'm certain it was just as moving as the year before. I've come to expect the tiny lump that never fails to form in my throat as the names of the fallen are called out to a modest crowd.

After the ceremony, everyone formed a line for the food. Veterans and volunteers came through, shaking willing hands and telling us "thank you so much for coming today." 

I eavesdropped on the conversations around me. There's just something about hearing old men in uniform swapping stories.

It was while waiting in line that Wes leaned over and whispered in my ear, "I have an old war movie for you and me tonight." He knows this scores more imaginary points with me than washing dishes and putting the kids to bed combined. Well, maybe that's stretching it. But to me a good old war movie- and I mean old as in Thirty Seconds Over Toyko (1944), PT-109 (1963), and Midway (1976)- tops any chick-flick. Especially on Memorial Day.

The food is just what you would expect. Hot dogs, baked beans, and a variety of salads. My own green salad teetered on the edge of the crowded buffet.

We finished our food and made our way toward the door. 

I was so pleased to see my older children approach some of the veterans with a handshake and thank them for their service, because for better or for worse, we just don't have a whole lot of personal connections with the sacrifices made by so many military families.

Somehow Halle's emotion chip got shoved in sideways that morning. 
Before cramming back into the car, we stopped for one more...ahem...respectful photo in front of the memorial.

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