Memorial weekend is here. To all the Veterans and their families: THANK YOU.
When I was growing-up, Memorial Day was one of the busiest days of the year. My grandparents owned a silk wreath business. Besides selling to retail chains and local wholesalers, my grandparents also sold directly to consumers via a storefront in eastern Cincinnati. For the six weeks leading up to Memorial weekend, a large tent was erected on the store parking lot. A large part of the extended family helped with the business during those 6 weeks, including us children.
I learned about many things working in the wreath business. At a very young age I learned about assembly line manufacturing, inventory management, staffing, cash handling, gratuities, selling, marketing, and managing personalities.
I also saw first-hand how important the sacrifices others had made were to those left behind. I witnessed older women purchase headstone wreathes for their fathers, husbands, sons, and grandsons, all at the same time, investing hundreds of dollars and dozens of hours to memorialize the many generations of their family who had served. It is hard to describe the pain and pride in their eyes as they browsed among the many silk creations available.
I will never forget the lessons I learned working alongside my family in the silk flower business, and I will certainly never forget the importance Memorial Day has for so many families.
I hope you take the time to kick-off your summer in the traditional manner: a long weekend, a big grill, and an optimistic eye toward warm months to come. Please, though, take the time for reflection on those who have come and gone before, so that you could live in the charmed society you have been blessed to be a part of. The United States of America is the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth. Presuming you are in the USA, you owe your place here to the sacrifices of the previous generations of your family and the servicemen (and women) of the past and present. Take time to reflect and thank them.
Enjoy the weekend!
Author Note: This was originally posted on May 27, 2010.