I grew up in a small town on the Mississippi River in the Midwest. That helped create a real God and Country attitude and belief for me. I used to joke with a friend of mine that my upbringing in that location made me a real American.
Memorial Day for me, growing up, was important because I was taught the meaning of it by my parents and my community. We did all the cooking out with extended family and friends, played games outside, made homemade ice cream and we took time out of the day to go to the cemetery to pay our respects to all those who had passed and in particular the veterans. Wreaths were taken for every family members grave and additionally, flags for the veterans in our family.
I am very thankful I was taught those important things about God and Country. I live too far away now to visit the cemetery but my way of paying respect is to send my monetary donation to that little cemetery on the hill overlooking the Mississippi River and the tiny town I grew up in. It is maintained by donations and towns people who care. Some of those same people who helped instill in me the respect and honor I feel today for our veterans. Thank you to those people in my little home town who helped instill in me the respect I have for our great country and those who fought for my freedom and gave the ultimate - their tomorrow for my today.