An artist shares her experiences on creatively developing, tending to and nurturing her garden as spiritual sanctuary for herself, her friends and family. Gail Allen contributes her thoughts on creating a sacred space as an oasis for soothing your soul in today's busy world, enticing your senses and and fostering your own personal growth

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Memorial Day Tribute to Military Veterans and Their Families

My Dad World War ll
Poppies always remind me of my dad, honoring those who fought for our freedom, as well their families who have given so very much and especially, the Memorial Day holiday. Whether in my garden, or the crepe paper kind you may purchase outside of stores that are usually being sold by Veterans around Memorial Day, they will always hold an endearing place in my heart. They will forever symbolize a remembrance to pay tribute to those who have paid the ultimate price and sacrificed for our freedom.

At seventeen my dad joined the army to go fight in World War II. He worked in Bermuda on the railroad that is no longer there and then shipped out and fought in Europe; stationed there for years, when the announcement came that the war had ended. Although he told us a few things, he never really discussed the details of what he went through. Growing up, we would always watch old war movies with him, knowing it meant a lot to him that in some way, we had a small glimpse into understanding the hell that they experienced and the camaraderie of military life. He had terrible memories and nightmares that haunted him until his death in 2003. He had hurt himself a few times, during those nightmares of reliving diving into a bunker for safety, when incoming mortars were heading their way.  Throughout his life, he had a special place in his heart for his fellow countrymen who he would see at the VFW and at the many reunions he attended. Every Christmas, cards came from people my sisters and I had never met, but we knew how dear they were to my dad,  - these were from the families of these men who had served with him all those years ago. One by one, we were sent the news of their passing on.

Recently, my father in law was given the gift of going to view the World War II Veterans' Memorial in Washington, D. C. through a new program for veterans. It meant so much to him, as well as all of these veterans to finally be recognized. I am sure my dad would have loved it.

On this Memorial Day, please remember to pay tribute to those in our military services who have sacrificed so much for our freedom over the years, serving in many different wars. From now on, whenever you see a poppy may you be reminded of the young men and women who deserve our thanks and praise today, and everyday that we encounter them in our daily lives. Don't let an opportunity go by to honor, or personally thank them for the gift they have given us all - freedom.

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