Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Monday

Last night, we went with some family members to the cemetery in town where many of my ancestors are buried.

When I was a kid, I thought Memorial Day was kind of boring. We went to a lot of cemeteries to pay our respects to departed ancestors, and when I was a kid, it seemed like we were visiting their graves forever! Yesterday, I was pleased to discover that my attitude now is vastly different from what is was then.

Lately, I've been editing my grandfather's life history and in the process I've been learning about many of my family that used to live in this area. When we went up to the cemetery yesterday, we saw many names that I recognized. Instead of them simply being names on a rock, they were suddenly memorials of people who I knew something about.

I realized with surprise that my whole perspective of Memorial Day had changed. I don't have very many relatives who actually served in the military, but I feel like Memorial Day is also a day to remember those who sacrificed in other ways as well.

Without my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., I wouldn't be here. They sacrificed a lot to raise their children and come to this country where they could be free to live the way they felt was right.

As I looked around at other graves as well, I felt sorrow for parents who had lost their children and children who had lost their parents. Everyone of those graves was now a person to me, no matter when they had died.
At one point as we studied a grave of a six-year-old boy who had only died last year, I was surprised to find tears in my eyes. My heart ached for the loss of this child and for his poor family.

I am so grateful that I have the Plan of Salvation so I know that death isn't permanent and our separation from family is only temporary. I don't know how people can survive loss of family without that knowledge. It would be super depressing.

I know I can be with my family forever, and eventually I will be able to meet these incredible people who made it possible for me to be alive.

As you honor your heritage today, don't just visit their graves, but maybe learn a little more about them as well. As I've learned more about my ancestors, they have become more than just names to me, they have become people that I love.

Happy Memorial Day!

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