HAPPY MEMORIAL WEEKEND!
In celebration of Memorial Day on Monday, May 29, 2017, my husband, Hobbit King, and I are planning to enjoy the entire weekend. In the past, it was sort of right of passage for summer. We knew that when this weekend came, we’d be moving into three months of bliss – summer.
Ten years ago, leading up to this holiday, our family was struck with three deaths within a ten-day period. First, my mother passed away on May 17 from complications of Alzheimer’s. During her funeral, my nephews, Justin and Josh, helped my brother, his wife, as well as me, my husband, and our daughter adjust to the fact that mother was gone. They did this in the only way those two could – through their kind words and hugs.
Then, on Sunday, May 27, the day before Memorial Day, Justin and Josh were in a car accident. Justin, 18, died on impact. He was two weeks away from his high school graduation. Josh, 24, lingered for a day, and then passed away. He had a young son and he had a promising future before him. Our family lost two handsome and beautiful souls that weekend. It goes without saying that it was devastating. We were at a loss. Death had taken much from us.
You may wonder why I share this now. It is because Memorial Day and Memorial Weekend is a time of remembrance.
In our family, it has and always will be a time to remember those who gave their lives and talents in service to our country. My father was in the Army and fought in both WWII and Korea. My mother was a WAC during WWII. Hobbit King’s father served in the Army during WWII and Hobbit King served during Vietnam. We both had uncles who served as well. And, it is an important time of remembrance for those we lost too soon – Justin and Josh.
Over the years, we remember in different ways. One of those ways comes around in a unique way. For the last fifteen or so years, our little town has celebrated with the riders who take part in the Southern Route of The Run for The Wall celebration each year. RFTW started in 1989, growing from the love of two Vietnam Veterans that saw a need and felt this one-act could help them help their fellow veterans (Click on the link for details about the ride). Today, Wednesday, May 24, the riders (a group about 500 strong) roared into town on their motorcycles with rain falling on them after eight grueling days riding cross-country from California. The sound of them all coming into town is indeed like “rolling thunder.”
The RFTW website shares why this ride is important and personal for each rider. The following is copied from the Southern Route itinerary information:
As we make our journey across this great land, please reflect on why you have chosen to join us. Be mindful of the RFTW Mission Statement:
- To promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends:
- To call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA);
- To honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from all wars; and
- To support our military personnel all over the world.
What a worthy cause to take part and show support for our military. If you are not familiar with the Run for The Wall organization, what it means, and what it represents, I urge you to learn about it. Take time to learn about this promotion of healing for all veterans and their families and friends, and cheer these brave men and women on their ride to Washington, DC. where they will place wreaths at the memorials of our fallen service personnel.
Each rider is given a nick name when he or she joins in the RFTW ride. During twelve of those years, Hobbit King and I offered food and shelter to two very special riders – Nine Ball and Pocket (Don and Della). We came to love their visits with us. Two years ago, Don retired. So, he and Della do not make the long ride via motorcycles any more. But, in my heart, they are here visiting us today. They live in Arizona; we don’t get to see them like we used to do. One day, Hobbit King and I need to make a trip out west and visit them!
Time for Remembrance
This weekend, Hobbit King and I will be continuing our remembrance and celebration of Memorial Day and what it means to place a wreath, or stand and sing with our hands over our heart. We will celebrate in the lives lived, lives lost, and lives remembered. And, I’ll think of the words of poet W. S. Merwin from his poem Separation that I hope you will take the time to click and read. The poem is only two sentences long, but what powerful emotions he stirs in nineteen words. Please take time to read the works of Mr. Merwin. You will be blessed by them.
May your Memorial Weekend and Memorial Day be a time of blessing for you as you remember.
Always with Cheers,