Most people think of Memorial Day for barbeques and flags flying. But what is easy to forget is what we are meant to remember on this most honored national holiday.. those who fought and died for our country and the freedoms that we hold dear.
Today we woke bright and early and drove over to Barrancas National Cemetary at Pensacola Naval Air Station, where my father and many other service men and women's remains are laid to rest; the dates of their lives and the wars during their active duty service marked on white marble grave stones... a somber, peaceful place to feel the magnitude of their sacrifices.
The symbolism is not lost on me for why the graves all match and are lined up in almost regimental order across those fields of green. They are our soldiers. Each stone, a life that was lived in the name of our freedom. Generals and enlisted airman alike.. no longer set apart by rank in this sacred place, they were all lost with the same level of duty. Some lost in battle and others after very old age..makes no difference in this place.
This was a first visit for the girls. I only visit a time or two a year and before now I never thought they would understand. We explained to them that my dad's body lies there, but his soul is with God now. I worried they would break the peaceful atmosphere with questions and chatter..but no. They seemed to understand the significance and respect owed to this place. They left roses and we prayed. We prayed for men and women out there fighting for us overseas. We prayed that my father know in Heaven how thankful we were for him in our lives. There was a rose for each of his grandkids who he never had the chance to know, one rose for his daughters and one rose for his wife, my mother, who accompanied us today.
After we visited his graveside, we walked amidst the older sections of the cemetary. There are buried civil war veterans and their families as well as famous indian warriors. It was beautiful walking under trees as old as the graves. Those trees hold the secrets and stories about all those beneath their roots.