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Grandparents Teach Us to Remember

Posted By Jolyn Rudelson On 05.27.2011 @ 8:10 PM In Aging, Disability, Death, Dying | Comments Disabled

Memorial Day is the perfect day for grandparents everywhere to spend the day with their grandchildren passing on to them what is so important to remember.   Let them know that this is a special day, more than celebrating the end of the school year or the first bar-b-que of summer  Today is the day to remember all those brave men and now women too, who have given the gift of their life to defend this country to keep us free.

I want to share with my grandchildren the pictures of their great grandfather in his World War I uniform, their paternal grandfather in Korea in his air force blue and their maternal grandfather as an Army Chaplain while he served his many years.  Although I have no pictures,  I want them to know that a great,great, great….. Grandfather on their mother’s side fought in the Revolution.

When I was very young I remember my mother teaching me the words to the WWI song “Over There” and to the poem “In Flanders Field.”     I remember Pearl Harbor, although I was only nine, and the chocolate chip cookies I use to make and send to my cousins overseas.  I want my grand children to know that the song “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” is a World War II song and to always remember their cousin survived the beaches of Normandy only to die later on an island in the Pacific.

And even if on 9/11 my oldest grandson was only a baby and his brother not yet born, I want them to remember.  And I want my grandsons to say thank you to every man and woman they see in uniform who is presently serving.   As the curator of their family’s history, my duty as their grandmother is to teach them all I remember, plus what my mother taught me. I hope other grandparents will join me in teaching their grandchildren to remember too on this Memorial Day.

Today is the perfect day to take your grandchildren to visit a National Cemetery or one of the battlefields from the Revolution or the Civil War. If you have friends whose love one is serving in the military ,call up or pay a visit.  And for those of you who do remember and want to do something to say thank you, check with the Wounded Worriers or many of the other Military Family Support Groups and ask how you can help.

Most of all, let us remember those who live with the loss of their loved ones every day: the widows, widowers, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, grandparents and yes cousins too.   Reach out and tell them you are remembering with them.

During WWI a Canadian physician, Lt. Colonel John McCrae, caring for  the dying and the wounded, wrote the famous poem “In Flanders Field”.   One particular part of it seems particularly appropriate this Memorial Day:

“To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; Be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We hall not sleep, though poppies grow

in Flanders fields.”


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