Moms rest on the pontoon boat, dads and uncles gather around the grill, and grandparents watch the little ones. They congregate around the home, kicking off the unofficial start to summer. A family sits upon short wooden stubs, roasting marshmallows and watching the red sun set adjacent to the blue water of Lake Michigan. The day has been full of watersports and cupcakes, campfires and the perpetual repetition of the mantra “God bless the USA.” The family has never had to experience a loss, but they grab hands and take a moment of silence to remember the fallen soldiers who have given them what they have today.
Swimming, boating, and fires all continue the unofficial start to summer. The youngest daughter of two glides across the sparkling lake, fearlessly jumping and twirling through the air. Every year, the family travels up to Green Lake, following and creating new traditions. She takes action despite her fear, not because of it—much like the nearly 1.2 million who gave their lives for our privilege. Bald eagles soar through the pale blue sky, along with the flag of red white and blue that waves vigorously in the windy air.
Memorial Day results in a deeper understanding of the forbearance and tenacity of the men and women who fought for our freedom. By definition, Memorial Day is “a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered, traditionally observed on May 30 but now officially observed on the last Monday in May.” By tradition, Memorial Day is family gatherings, “God bless the USA,” and respecting the fearless.