I think a reasonable way to honor our fallen is to make good use of the time we have here. Many of them died so very young. They gave their lives in battle before they even had much of a chance to live. I believe they would want us to strive with diligence, to love and hold our family and friends close and to enjoy the beautiful moments that can be found even in the midst of turmoil. I think we owe them that…a life well lived, a nod of acknowledgement and appreciation and a commitment to defending the principles they died for in our daily lives. I think it’s fitting that Memorial Day is a day we set aside to reflect but also to spend time gathering, breaking bread and enjoying each other.
Many years ago when I was an eighth grader my friends and I would occasionally gather on a Friday afternoon at a girlfriend’s house and open a few bottles of beer (if her parents weren’t watching closely). We felt quite daring and sophisticated in our little private girl’s school uniforms. We each wore a white middy, a navy tie, navy pleated skirt, white socks and Oxford shoes that took a lot of polishing to keep shiny white. We’d stand around by the flower beds with our cups.
We never drank out of the bottles, just cups, since that’s how we were taught proper ladies enjoyed their libations. We’d use a bottle opener swiped from the kitchen to pop the top off and before pouring the beer, the designated distributer would tip the bottle and christen the soil saying “For those of us who aren’t here.” I have no idea exactly how or why that little ritual started but we did it every time. One of us probably saw an older sibling or parent do it and simply copied it thinking it was cool. None of us had an idea who the words were for but we did it faithfully.
Today as I sit in the backyard relaxing and enjoying my family and friends, I’ll do the same, this time not with beer but with a deeply flavored, delicious red wine . I’ll say those very same words only now that I’m all grown up I know exactly who they’re for…
On this day in May, year 2013, I wish you and yours a little slice of perfect. I’m delighted that I got to spend just a few minutes of it with you. Let’s raise a glass to another day of life. Cheers!