Memorial Day weekend in my little town always means the Blossom Time Festival–a carnival at Riverside Park, the festive Blossom Parade, rowdy parties, hot air balloons in the sky, delicious fair food, bands of all kinds in the Big Top Tent, pie eating contests and– did I mention parties? After we greet each other with a cheery “Happy Blossom!” from Thursday to Sunday, on Monday morning we take time to stop and honor the true meaning of the extended weekend. Families gather at the Triangle and along the route to the local cemetery for a somber parade, followed by a moving Memorial Day service in remembrance of our community’s fallen. My girl proudly marches with the high school band in that procession. Afterward, the local Fraternal Order of the Eagles hosts a dinner for Veterans today; I will be taking food over for the occasion.
I’ll proudly raise a toast to my dad Jack for his Navy service with nuclear submarines in Europe (where he learned all about great beer); to Bob Mills, my adoptive father, for his service in the Army during the Korean War, and to all of my family members and friends who have spent time protecting our freedoms in our Armed Forces, here at home and around the world. Forever and always, I will be most grateful to those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.