It is here. The day it happened. My stroke one year ago today. The time is still looming as it happened in the late afternoon. It is a day I will never forget, but I am home with my family.
Today we are continuing our garage sale, purging things we have collected and saved that may be of value or use to someone else.
The boys were into it Friday and Saturday, today we are all somewhat over it. We still get excited when a car pulls up and we make a sale. We were at eight dollars, now ten, after the woman with her dog came to our door this morning while we were watching CBS Sunday Morning.
This episode had many stories, but the one about the Japanese flags hit home. The son who looked at his father’s WWII footlocker in the basement, not able to play in it and later not able to return the flags per his father’s haunted memories of war still making his decisions.
He then met a man in his father’s infantry who spoke of forgiveness and letting go of hate. He became educated about the flags and how the writing on them was from loved ones to their soldiers headed to battle for protection.
He returned a flag to an older daughter and son who had not met their father and here it was with blood stains, their father’s flag. He came home after all.
That is what Memorial Day weekend is about. Coming home and being with your family. It can be ceremonial and it can be a humble garage sale both honor heirlooms and the stories associated with them. The items are shared, honored, and returned or passed along to those who feel they mean something and should be kept.
The items bring family and strangers together in a communal exchange that goes beyond the object’s external value, down to the perceived value of the new owner. The story shared is transferred along with the title of it and the history lives on. It really is Memorial Day weekend when memories of the people and their personal items we value are shared, returned or passed on.
To a writer it’s their words. To these two servicemen the flags meant two very different things and to these two children this particular flag of their father’s meant everything. He was now home with his family.
Thank you to all that serve our country today and everyday for giving more than any of us will ever really understand. I hope you all come home very soon.