What Memorial Day is really about.

So, I was surprised and a little saddened that a post I put on Facebook actually garnered almost 40 responses, and many of them were in opposition to my original post.  So before I tell you what my post said, and the opposition I received, I first want to let you all know that I am a military retiree. I spent 20 of my 49 years of life on this earth serving in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman.  I feel that alone gives me insights into military rules, regulations, ceremonies, and  traditions that those who have not served in the military do not have in their toolbox.

Bahrain 2003

Bahrain 2003

For example, it is disrespectful to wear anything on your head in a military medical facility.  It is a sign of respect to the dead to remove your hat when entering, and during your visit to a military medical center.  Also, unfortunately as a Corpsman, I have had to assist my Commanding Officers with the Casualty Assistance Calls Officer program, and have had to personally tell at least 4 families their loved one had died while on active duty.  We were those people who showed up on your doorstep wearing a service dress uniform to be the first to tell you that your loved one was dead.  They didn’t know.  We were required to use the word “dead”.  I had to watch them register disbelief, then shock, then profound despair. It was our duty, and our honor to help the family with funeral arrangements for their service member and help them with benefits, headstones, etc.  It was a heart wrenching job, but one that I did with love and respect for my brothers and sisters and their families.

While serving at reserve centers in South Bend Indiana, and Fayetteville Arkansas I had to attend hundreds of funerals as the military honor guard, and fold flags and present them to loved ones with these sacred words:  “On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Navy, and a grateful Nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service”  And had to maintain a straight face, no emotion while doing so.  It was my honor and privilege to do that for them!

However, that all being said, I feel that gives me a certain expertise about military traditions, and honors, especially when it is about days for honoring our service members past and present.  So, when I received some flak on my post I was surprised and a bit taken aback.

I don’t believe in saying “Happy Memorial Day”.  Memorial Day is not about being happy. I do not want people to thank me for my service on Memorial Day, I am still alive.  Memorial Day is a day to salute and honor the men and women who died while serving their country in the military.  My FB post said this: “Memorial Day is not a day to thank Veterans, it is a day to remember those who died and gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving. So please don’t thank me for my service, I am still alive. Thank those who died protecting ours, (and others’) freedoms.”

I received some comments about how it is okay to say “happy memorial day” because maybe people have happy memories of their loved ones.  I received comments about how every day is a good day to thank a veteran.  Comments about how we should realize that even serving in the military is a sacrifice and so Memorial day is about that too.

So, I hate to pull out the “I served for 20 years so I feel like I know more than you do about this subject” card, but that is how I feel.  You may have lost family members, and for that I am incredibly sad for you, but to be honest, (and maybe it is because I was a Corpsman and had to be so close to military death), I feel like that is NOT what Memorial Day is about.  Memorial Day is about the loss of Military lives.

Please use the ENTIRE other 364 days of the year to thank a Veteran for their service, (they deserve our thanks), but NOT Memorial Day.

For a Great history of Memorial Day, here is a link to History.com section specifically about Memorial Day, AKA Decoration Day.

So, yesterday was an interesting day for me, as I waded through comments and tried to best to educate, and enlighten as much as possible about what the day truly means.  I did receive a few private messages from people thanking me for my words, and telling me that they agreed and I had taught them what Memorial Day is really about, so that was heartening.

Today, as I was preparing to write this blog, I came across this video done by a man named Chad Warner.  I think it visually expresses the point I am trying to get across.  This video is specifically geared towards Marines, but works for all branches of the Military. Thank you Chad.

My Memorial Day Tribute……UPDATE… To everyone who has shared this Memorial Video… I am Overwhelmed with Gratitude & Humbled… Thank You for honoring and remembering America’s fallen Heroes this weekend!!! Semper-Fi This is a tribute I created for Memorial Day Weekend…It’s a tribute to my fellow Marines Who Gave All in the pursuit of Freedom…There are actually 3 funerals in this tribute that I attended and I am dear friends with the Marine father who is saluting the casket of his Marine son….God Bless & Remember ALL Our Fallen Heroes This Memorial Day Weekend…

Posted by Chad Warner on Thursday, 2 June 2011

 

 

Silent Sunday

zack prom

 

 

 

Silent-Sunday

Trust your parenting decisions

As we get closer to summertime, I am seeing more posts on social media and blog posts about what to do with the kids over the summer.  Some parents put them in day camp, some parents leave them home, some parents have friends watch them, some parents have no idea what to do…..

And, unfortunately, when I hear parents talk about what they are doing with their kids, be it allowing them to watch certain tv shows, read certain books,  watch certain movies, I also see something else happening:  Judgement from other parents…..  and then I see the parents who are being judged do one of two things…..either they just keep talking, like they didn’t notice the judgement, or they apologize, and start explaining why they made that decision as a parent.

As if they somehow feel the need to apologize for making a decision they feel is best for their own kids.  Concerned about being judged by other parents as “too conservative” or “holding them back””, or “hiding your head in the sand”.  Then there is the other side of the coin.  They might be judged for being “too permissive”, or “too liberal”.  so the parents feel they have to explain why they DID allow their children to read a book, see a movie, go to an event, start dating, wear makeup, etc etc etc…the list is endless……

They worry about judgement for seeming too “permissive” or not caring about the scars their kids might get from the message of the books or the violence. Or the worry about seeming too conservative” and sheltering their child(ren) from the “harsh reality” of life.

I have a difficult time with both of these points of view.  Not because I think there is a correct age or time for a child to see a particular kind of movie or read a particular book, or date, or wear makeup, etc etc etc. The problem I have with those two trains of thought is WHY the parents even feel the need to explain their decisions to every one else.

I feel bad for the parents who feel they need to justify and explain their actions to others. Maybe they are new parents, maybe they are first time parents, maybe they are just insecure….there could be a million reasons why they are unsure of their parenting decisions.  Parenting is HARD!!!!   There is no manual, and most of the time we are just flying by the seat of our pants, having NO CLUE what we are doing.

I will say that I have made MANY MANY bad parenting decisions, and I have also made MANY MANY great decisions.  I have learned from the bad ones AND the good ones.    Parenting is full of mistakes and learning curves.  There is no manual that a person gets to help them when they become a parent, and even if you did get a manual with your first child, you would need to toss it in the trash when the second child comes, and the third, fourth, etc etc….  Each child is unique and what works for one child won’t work for another child.

For example, our oldest, (my stepdaughter, Katarina) doesn’t even acknowledge me as a parent, and refuses to even speak to me, so while that is an incredibly difficult situation it doesn’t take me off the proverbial “parenting hook”.  Her  mom is my partner, and we make decisions together….but my stepdaughter  doesn’t accept my decisions….it is complicated….   The three boys are completely different though.  Karol and I parent them together, and they understand that  we decide together and lets be real here…..Karol and I don’t always agree on what we are going to do…our parenting styles are very different…

And that is something else.  Parents are different from each other, and if you have more than one parent involved with raising a child, the parents sometimes need to talk about what to do, how to do it, etc, and parents don’t always agree with each other, so that requires discussion and compromise.  Parenting is the TOUGHEST job I have ever done.

 https://www.facebook.com/rusticpinedesigns

I used to feel as if I had to explain my actions and motives regarding my decisions about my kids, but not anymore!.  They are pretty awesome people, and I know that the only person that knows them better than themselves….. is me.  I know what makes them tick, what motivates them, what they are afraid of and what they want from life.  I know their hearts and most of the time I know their minds.

My point is that I want parents who are caring, trying their best, and just doing what they think is the right thing for their kids, (bio kids, adopted kids, step kids,god kids,  ANY kids), ….to own their decisions, and know within ourselves, that we do not need to justify or explain our decisions regarding our children to anyone besides our partners, ourselves and (sometimes) our kids.

So if you want your kids to see a movie or read a book, date, wear makeup, stay home from school, (or not), it is your decision to make.  If you think they should or should not attend a party or a school dance, or a movie or a football game, that is a parents choice as well. So decide, and own that decision knowing that you are always trying to do the best for your children. Trust your parenting decisions!

Found on momfabulous.com

Found on momfabulous.com