On our way up to our cousin's cabin, the car ride is silent. It’s a four hour car ride to Minocqua, Wisconsin, but no one complains. Staring out the window, I feel incredibly thankful—thankful for my family, thankful for my freedom, and thankful for my life. Arriving, we are welcomed by the sweet smell of apple pies baking in the oven. We gather around the table to pray. My aunt starts by saying, “We thank God for the ability to spend time with family and for the soldiers who have taken their lives to keep us safe. We thank God Poppa is safe and can be here today with us.”
Memorial Day is especially important for my family because my grandfather and his brothers fought in the Army. They are our heroes. The bravery any man or woman need to serve our country is incredible. I thank God my grandpa made it out of WWII alive. I don’t know how I would survive without his kindness and courage.
After dinner, my father sets off fireworks. It’s as though each firework is a fallen soldier. Some shed tears as other close their eyes and keep praying—praying for the families of the soldiers, praying for peace, and praying for safety. As each firework goes off, my grandpa bows his head.
At ten pm, we gather around the fire pit. My mom brings out marshmallows and whoopie pies. We go around the fire saying what we are all thankful for. “I’m thankful for Poppa’s bravery.”—“I’m thankful for being able to wake up everyday and not worry.”—“I’m thankful to live in a country that I feel safe in.”
The next day, we wake and we are still thankful for what we have. We are still thankful for our freedom. And, we are still thankful for all of our American soldiers. Memorial Day is more than just a weekend family get together. It’s about being thankful for our freedom and the soldiers who died fighting for our freedom.