I Smell Brats, Burgers, and Patriotism

September 28, 2016
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I wake to the smell of brats, burgers, ribs, and corn on the cob. As I rise up from my bed, I glance out of my window. It’s an unbelievably perfect day. Sunny and 75. Through the glass pane, still wet from the morning dew, I see my cousins, prancing around the yard. My uncles, aunts, and grandparents tend to the barbeque. It’s one of the best days of the year. It’s the start of summer — an important day indeed, it’s Memorial Day.

As the midday sun illuminates overhead, I know it’s time to depart for the famous Memorial Day parade. My family and I assemble a convoy of cars, vans, and trucks, all adorned with ribbons, paint, sparkles, and flags. As we ride off, my neighbors see the the flash of red, white, and blue, representing our patriotism.

The parade begins, and I see veterans from the Korean war. I think about what this sunny day means to me. It is more than good food, and good times with good people. It is an opportunity to appreciate the ultimate sacrifice thousands of Americans made through the many brutal conflicts. It’s so kids like me could enjoy their lives in peace, and enjoy liberty and freedom without fear of foreign threats.

As the parade progresses, winding up and down the streets of my hometown, I notice one thing that’s unchanged. Whether it be a 24-year-old veteran of Afghanistan, or an 86-year-old who fought in World War Two, everyone who represented their country has pride on their face. It makes me think of what it must mean to serve, and what it must be like to protect the freedoms I enjoy.

I smile at those veterans, not because they’re throwing me fistfulls of candy, but because it’s the only way I can convey the sense of gratitude I have for them.

But once again, I find my thoughts trailing off, as I follow the intense smell of barbeque. This day can’t get any better,  I think.

I love Memorial Day! 

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