Memorial Day ~ Honoring the Fallen and Launching the Fun

by Kassandra Lamb

As a kid, I loved Memorial Day. I had no clue what it’s real significance was. I just knew it meant the beginning of summer.

kids in poolOur local community pool opened, and we swam no matter how chilly the May breeze in Maryland still happened to be (even if the lifeguards were in their sweats, as they sometimes were).

Summer meant swimming and going “down the ocean, hun.” But it also meant freedom – mostly from school.

at the beach

Me and my brother in Ocean City, MD; I’m about 5 here.

Weeks and weeks of summer vacation spread out before us. It seemed like infinity at the time. The possibilities for fun were endless.

Today I still get excited about the beginning of summer. It still means freedom – from coats and jackets and closed-toe shoes and socks (from shoes completely around the house or at the beach). And from heating bills (although in Florida, the AC bills can be worse).

We can open our windows and air out the winter staleness.

My mood lifts considerably when the weather warms toward summer and the days grow longer. The flowers are blooming and the grass is growing, soft underfoot. Right now, my magnolia tree in the backyard is about to burst into big gorgeous white blossoms.

cemetery

Alton National Cemetery (public domain)

The beginning of summer is when I feel most alive, so it seems particularly poignant when I remember what Memorial Day is really supposed to be about – to honor those who have given their lives for their country, to protect freedoms far greater and more important than being able to go barefoot!

It is a day that, like no other, brings to the forefront both the dark and the bright sides of human existence — the losses and tragedies, some of them quite senseless, and the exciting possibilities.

Being an eternal optimist (some have called me a Pollyana 🙂 ), I tend to focus on the possibilities.

How about you? What does the beginning of summer mean to you?

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological suspense series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.

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2 thoughts on “Memorial Day ~ Honoring the Fallen and Launching the Fun

  1. Vinnie Hanse

    For me, starting in fourth grade, summer meant being sent to live with one of my three older sisters to help care for her children while my mother attended college. This was wonderful and horrible. I spent summers in Wyoming, Colorado, and California, and was therefore exposed to things like San Francisco in 1968! But at 10, I was much too young to be left in charge of three children. One of my tiny nieces ended up playing in the irrigation ditch. When I was 12, I was dancing around on the lawn to the Monkees, while my little nephew ran down the sidewalk and across the intersection in his diaper. The way we were raised (very free range), it is a miracle that all ten of us kids and all 22 of my nieces and nephews survived into adulthood.

    Reply
    1. Kassandra Lamb

      LOL I can just see you dancing to the Monkees. I loved them!

      My mother was considered restrictive for the times. I wasn’t allowed off our street (it was about two blocks long. But from about age seven on, I left the house in the morning, during the summer, and she didn’t bat an eye if I was gone all day, unless I didn’t come home for dinner.

      Reply

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