Memorial Day

I know you will forgive me for not writing over the Memorial Day weekend.  I guess I just haven’t quite figured out how to blog and live my life at the same time.

For today, I thought I’d post a few Memorial Day thoughts.

Almost 100 years ago, my Grandpa W. joined the Navy to help win the “War to End All Wars”.  

We know it now as World War I, but naturally we hadn’t sequentialized the war at that point.   Grandpa W. was on the U.S.S. Leviathan, the largest ship in the U.S. Navy (and the world) and one of 14,000 men going to Brest, France.  (Evidently, Humphrey Bogart was in the Navy at the same time as Grandpa W., and on the U.S.S. Leviathan at the same time.  I suppose it can be understood why they never met.)

We were fortunate.  World War I ended as the Leviathan was still steaming toward France.  By the time Grandpa and the rest of the men landed, Armistace was declared.

Grandpa kept a journal from his time in the Navy, but there are no entries from his time in France.  We will assume that he ate some croissants, saw the Eiffel Tower and wrote notes home to his Mom and Dad.

While he didn’t share any of his memories in France, he did bring back a U.S. flag.  I’m not sure where he got it (remember, no notes from France), but he had folded it carefully in tissue.  As I went through my Mom’s things, I found it and asked a good friend of ours (thank you, Russ) to mount and frame the flag, which now hangs, with the original folds and 100 years of wear and tear, proudly on our wall.

We honor those men and women who have committed their lives to our Freedom.  We mourn those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

When the grand-kids got to our house over the weekend, we laughed, loved and played, but we also made sure to take some time to talk about Memorial Day and to help them find a way to memorialize this important day.

In the spring, red poppies bloom on European battlefields where thousands of soldiers died.

Many veteran’s organizations sell poppies to earn money for disabled vets (and I always give money), but on the morning of Memorial Day, we made our own poppies from tissue paper and pipe cleaners.

Memorial Day Poppies:

Cooper is carefully "fluffing" his Poppy.

What you need:

–  Red Tissue Paper (I like the look of different shades of red, and maybe some orange thrown in)

–  Pipe cleaners (I only had white, but I think green would look better)

–  Scissors

–  Hole Punch (I didn’t have a hand held hole punch, but the three hole punch worked out just fine)


To make each poppy, cut out three or four 3-inch circles of the tissue paper.  

The nice thing about tissue paper is that it is so thin you can stack it and cut a whole lot of circles.

Fold the stacked circles

Punch a hole near the center of the fold (be careful not to get close to the fold).

Your circles should look like this, with two holes near each other in the center.

Thread the pipe cleaner in to one hole and out the other.

Make sure there is no gap after you thread the pipe cleaner through the second hold (be careful not to tear the paper)

Wind the pipe cleaner around itself
Carefully separate each of the circles and crinkle a little at the base.

Kevin is putting the finishing touches on his Poppy.

We ended up with a large bouquet of poppies. Each of the kids made at least one, and all the Mommies and Daddies ended up with poppies as well.  Enough for a beautiful bouquet.

Once we made the poppies, we all hopped into the golf cart to go to our American Flag (I think we went about 25 yards)

Charlie and Ben in the back are hanging on to Luci and Sophie. Cooper and Kevin are helping me out in the front seat. (I don't have a GPS on my golf cart so they were helping with directions)

We took the poppies to our flag pole and Doug lowered the American Flag to half mast.

We all said the Pledge of Allegiance.  

We said a prayer.

and then, spontaneously it seemed, the kids all started singing the Star Spangled Banner.

It was a very special day

Category: Holidays and Entertaining, Memorial Day, Memories and Traditions, New Traditions, Old Memories, Smile
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(1) Comment and (1) Reply

  1. Sue Lobsiger | June 1, 2011 at 8:53 am | Reply

    What a beautiful tribute to all of the brave men and women, our fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, sons, daughters…………they serve without reservation and so many make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Thank you for sharing the meaning of the day with your children and grandchildren, you are creating quite a beautiful legacy.
    I would like to add a personal memory if you don’t mind.
    My dad, my grandfather and 2 of my brothers served our country during WWI, WWII, and Viet Nam, thank God they all came home. I wanted to share the memory I cherish about what this day meant to my dad. We seemed to spend this holiday together very often and watched parades in Milford when my son John was in scouts. I can remember when the vets came by in the parade, my dad always got very emotional, of course only I could see behind his sunglasses that his eyes were filling with tears. Tears of pride,loss,love of country and his family and God. As years wore on and my mom passed, dad and I still ended up being together for this celebration of our country and armed forces. Guess dad was in his late 70’s when we were watching a parade on tv and the laying of a wreath in some town in the area, my dad just broke down in a flood of tears, after he collected himself,
    ( we didn’t see that very often), he said “Susie, you can’t imagine what it’s like when you’re in a foxhole and you don’t know if you will make it out, but you know why you’re there and you’re in the right place.” After that year, dad started sharing more stories with us , his children and his grandchildren. He said, “never forget, my generation is dying off and so many of the stories die with us, don’t let that happen.”
    As I sat at our Memorial Day parade on Sunday, I thought of my dear father, who has been gone for about 7 years now. as the WWII and Viet Nam vets passed I stood to my feet, clapping as hard as I could and tears were streaming down behind my sunglasses in gratitude for the protection all of these wonderful people past and present provide for us.

    Thank you, Daddy, Steve & Scott and my grandpa too,( I never got to meet
    him but I have his picture, in uniform.)

    The only way we will “Never Forget” is doing what you have done with your grandchildren, we should all take a lesson. Thank You my dear friend!!!

    Happy Memorial Day

    • Jill H | June 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing your memories. What a beautiful tribute for some wonderful people. Never Forget. Love you

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