Summertime holidays aren’t just for beer and barbecues

Summertime is just around the corner and if your kids are anything like mine, they were ready two months ago. It’s a time for rest and relaxation, and two very important holidays.

Memorial Day

This is an annual opportunity to pay tribute to those who have died for our country. There are many ways to demonstrate our appreciation and remembering them is the least we can do. Grateful Americans attend services at military cemeteries and wear red poppies to show they haven’t forgotten the fallen. Flags are proudly displayed, Taps is played, speeches made, and graves visited.

We’ve been doing this for years, and I remember looking around a tranquil national cemetery back in 2000 and feeling embarrassed at all the empty seats. After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, attendance rose sharply and finding parking spaces became more difficult. Seats continued to fill as Afghanistan and Iraq reminded us of sacrifices our soldiers continued to make on a daily basis. Yet, I’m always saddened that more people aren’t in attendance when I sit down and pin poppies on my children’s shirts.

Is an hour too much to give to those who have given everything for our country, for us?

Memorial Day is one of those rare moments when we can all come together, put aside our differences, and say thank you to millions of sons and daughters who have paid the ultimate price for our liberty and freedom.

It only lasts a short while, leaving plenty of time to head back to the beach, barbecue or bed.

Independence Day

I know what you’re thinking, the Fourth of July celebration is about fireworks, macaroni salad and beer.

The real reason for this particular season is The Declaration of Independence, people. A beautiful piece of poetry, this document deserves to be read *out loud* at least once a year to your children, loved ones – hell, even to yourself.

Yes, fireworks and parties are fun, but that’s not the reason for the season. Our forefathers and their wives were wicked brave and, to honor them, we should understand why they stepped to the British monarchy in the first place.

Then go blow off body parts.

If you don’t have a copy at home, find one online or in your favorite library or bookstore. (They still have these, right?)

Don’t take Christ out of Christmas. And don’t take The Declaration of Independence out of Independence Day. Yes, the part about savage Indians makes my stomach turn, but it’s important to read and makes for great discussions. My kids know the drill and giggle a little when Mommy gets choked up at the end.

Takes three minutes – tops.

Happy holidays, y’all.