On Memorial Day, I spend time with family and friends sitting along the snaking Mississippi river. Looking at the sky, I smell marshmallows roasting and feel the smooth sand squishing between my toes. Smoke from the fire stretches toward the starry sky. I think about how each star can represent a brave soldier who gave his or her life for me to have the freedom to spend weekends relaxing and enjoying time with my family.
On Memorial Day, candy is thrown to cheering children outside the fire truck at the Hillsboro parade. The children eagerly await candy and wave tiny American flags above their heads. The adults smile, thinking about family members they’ve lost. Fathers, mothers, children, cousins, and many more. The parade begins with the sound of drums, and the lines of perfectly arranged soldiers march. I feel my heart beat faster as I remember those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom.
On Memorial Day, I remember those who served our country. Standing at my grandfather's grave, I watch the three soldiers carefully pick up the flag that was draped across his casket. Each fold representing life and sacrifice. They gently place the folded flag in my grandmother’s arms. I was unaware he had served for our country until I saw the stars and stripes. Now, I think of my grandfather: a man who bravely fought for my freedom.
The men and women who served our country make it possible for me to spend time with my family. I remember them by parades. I remember them by American Flags. I remember and honor them on Memorial Day.