Today was the first time I went to my father's grave. Mom wanted to go this weekend, Memorial Day weekend. Dad died in November - I guess you'd say we've all been avoiding the issue. But, his death is always with us - Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter. Every. Single. Day.
Dad served in the Air Force and so he is buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. If you've never been to a national cemetery, I encourage you to visit at least once in your life.
Jefferson Barracks is a peaceful place, full of honor and integrity. I am proud to say that my father is buried there.
As we drove into the park, Jonah brought up the fact that during WWII, Italian prisoners of war were sent there. Mom added that my father would visit them, bring the prisoners food and interpret letters for them, so they could send letters home.
I didn't know these things about my father, but Jonah did. You see, dad brought Jonah to Jefferson Barracks a few times. This was a special place for dad. He was proud to be an American citizen, proud to have served his country. I'm glad that dad shared some special things with Jonah - that Jonah had that time with dad.
Today, Memorial Day means something different for me. I can't really put into words what I'm feeling. My father left a void in my soul. He was a very special man and life just isn't the same without him. But, seeing his grave among all of those soldiers was inspiring. Now, the entire world knows how special my father was.
All of men and women in that cemetery sacrificed so much for our freedom! How often do we take that for granted? How many of us would have the courage to face what those brave men and women faced? Are we teaching our children about those sacrifices that those men and women gave?
My rambling reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
Make sure your children learn what they can from those around them. Never take your loved ones for granted. Make sure your children understand the sacrifices that were made for them.