Friday, May 25, 2012

Proud Memories

Proud Memories


Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.  It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. This year marks the 139th Memorial Day – observed now when our soldiers are again in harm’s way.

Although originally focused on our nation’s fallen soldiers, many also spend this holiday remembering family and friends who’ve gone before us, and trying to reflect on who they were, what they did, and how their legacy has shaped us. How often do you lie awake at night and reflect on your past; how often do you listen to or remember your grandparents’ stories; and have you written down the names and places and stories that make up your history?

Maybe that’s why and online census records are so popular – they give us a glimpse of the who, what, where and when of our past.  The internet connects us to our past, to our memories – but do we really know the people we find there like those we’re able to sit with and listen to directly?  While memories are important and bind the past with the future, the here and now is also where we should  focus.

Hopefully we’ll all be spending this 3-day holiday weekend with loved ones, those with whom we can share the present while remembering and honoring the past.  On holidays like this, whole families should be together – both young and old – sharing, growing, learning, and strengthening the links that bind them together.  I’m going to spend this Memorial Day holiday fostering new memories and adding to old ones, relishing those standing while remembering the fallen, and loving the fact that life keeps enriching the stories of our lives.  I hope you will too.

My message this week is about how family and heritage can make us proud:
Arte Nathan“Let others pride themselves about how many pages they have written; I’d rather boast about the ones I’ve read.

Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo (1899 – 1986), was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator born in Buenos Aires. Scholars have suggested that Borges's progressive blindness helped him to create innovative literary symbols through imagination.

What are you proud of today? Pride is so often associated with the stuff we accumulate, but that’s a rather shallow measure of how we characterize or assess ourselves.  Compounding this is all the media hype surrounding the things that are available and the reasons to want any of them.  But what of the other things in life that could or should help us define who we really are? We should be more focused on the things we learn and the people we learn from, and how they enrich our lives.  We should be open to others and their ideas to grow our awareness of life’s possibilities. And we shouldn’t be lulled into thinking that “he who dies with the most toys wins” – that’s a fool’s race.  The coolest people around don’t pride themselves on how many pages they’ve written, but rather they learn from and boast about the ones they’ve read.  Be proud of being cool like that today!

Have a great holiday, and Stay Well!

P.S.  The picture above is my wife's 96 year old grandmother holding our 3 month old was taken more than 32 years ago.  What a memory!

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