Although the calendar says we have almost a month to go, Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer for Minnesotans. Summer time is so precious and fleeting that we grab it by the ankles and hold tight for all three of the months in which it stands in our midst.
I’m stocked with charcoal and food to grill. The flowers have been planted, the weeds pulled and the mulch spread. The gardens look great and I’m ready to enjoy the benefits of my labor with an extra day of down time. That is one face of the holiday.
Every Memorial Day Susan and I make our pilgrimage to Fort Snelling National Cemetery to pay our respects. It’s usually the only chance in the year we get to visit family who has gone on before us. Despite the crush of people, Fort Snelling is a place given to quiet contemplation. Thankfully our family members lived to relatively ripe old ages.
Not so according to the many head markers we read as we walk. Young men and women who put service to their country above the surer bet of growing old and passing in more peaceful fashion. We pause and reflect upon their sacrifice. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, paid for with the lives of those willing to serve. That is the other face of the holiday.
Thank you, Veterans.