by Linda Veath

handsome father holding colorful balloons and his little son holding american flag celebrating 4th of July

Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children… Deut. 4:9 ESV …….. …….

I stepped into the cool morning air and suddenly was awash in memories from years ago. Roses. I thought of roses. Specifically the roses at my grandparents’ farmhouse. What beauty they added to the yard and garden areas. But more importantly was what we used them for every May.

The evening before Memorial Day, Grandma and Mom, under my watchful eye, cut roses and roses and more roses, arranging them in enough small mason jars to fill two, and sometimes three, large boxes. Roses to decorate graves of family members — at least four generations worth — in the small cemetery south of town. Sometimes we’d take the roses to the cemetery that evening, but most of the time it was early on Memorial Day, in the cool of the morning. We made sure every family member had flowers on their graves.

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My father, a proud WWII Veteran, was busy on Memorial Day as well. He, along with American Legion and VFW buddies, placed small American flags on the graves of local veterans. Mom and I joined him later at the annual Memorial Day service for our small town. Daddy often MC’d the ceremony. Mom helped with the floral tribute during it. And I stood by watching as my Memorial Day memories grew. After the ceremony, everybody enjoyed a meal at either the American Legion or VFW post.

Memorial Day isn’t much like that any more, is it? It’s more about food and drink, golf and baseball, boating and car races, concerts, fireworks, etc. We seem to have forgotten so much.

I feel blessed to have had parents who shared with me what Memorial Day is all about. Each generation has a responsibility to pass that on. And while it’s important that we do so, it is infinitely more important that we also pass on the love of the God Who created us, saved us through His Son Jesus, and has given us grace upon grace, both individually and as a nation.

My parents have passed away and now it’s my turn. So I ask you the same question I am asking myself.

What are you going to teach the younger generation this Memorial Day?