Memorial Day means different things to different generations.
As I mowed the lawn last night I had time to reflect on yard work, my father and my son and the different meaning my generation feels about most holidays and our chores.
My father went to Korea and by that I don’t mean he asked to go. He was sent because America told him it was his duty.I never argued when I was told to mow the lawn shovel the walk ways or do my chores around the house, my old man was a veteran and worked hard to put a roof over our heads.
I was 12 when Vietnam ended; I was old enough to see the news reels and meet my Baby sitter's boyfriend who returned from that war not completely intact. He was sent because his country thought he was needed over there and it was his duty so he went.
As I mowed the lawn last night while my healthy teenage son played with his friends I wondered if I was teaching my son to be lazy. I admit I enjoyed the fresh air and the exercise that yard work provides, but was there something more to my doing this than forcing my son to do chores as his duty.
My father and I work(ed) hard to support our families and many would argue that the youth these days have it easy. Maybe they do but that is why adults work and do their duty to make it better for the next generation. My son’s duty is to do well in school so he will have a better life than his grandfather and I.
So let the children play so long as they know that a Holiday is not just a day off from school but is a recognition for a day this Country honors our fallen and returning hero’s. They didn’t get to pick the wars their country sent them to fight they went as their duty, and we should honor that service.
My son is a sophomore, goes to school before 7am is on three varsity teams, is a straight “A” student, plays Jazz Guitar, and is assigned to a handicapped boy in his summer councilors job at the parks and recreation camp. Do I care that he doesn’t want to be a clerk at a store (like I was at 16) not at all. Does he understand young men only a few years older than him are in harms way on the other side of our planet? Yes he does.
I’m proud of my father his country asked him to do his duty, and I’m proud of my son his duty will be somewhere else but it will be no less important to his country when he decides what it is.
So I will continue to work and I honor my Father and my Son today...Memorial Day