Finding the meaning in little flags

(Though we live in a time where the lines that divide us seem more clearly drawn than ever, for today I hope we can unite in solemn appreciation for the men and women throughout our nation’s history who sacrificed themselves so that we can live — and even disagree — as Americans. As adults, we tend to complicate things and ideals. It’s days like today that I am reminded that a child’s pure, unbiased perspective is sometimes our best source of wisdom…)

image It’s been 15 years since I introduced my oldest daughter to the meaning of Memorial Day. She was seven then, but I still remember the short gusts of warm wind on my neck, the earthy smell of the fresh-cut grass, and the hushed snap of small American flags standing like sentries next to dozens of tombstones along the hillside.

“How come some of them have little flags, and some don’t?” my daughter asked.

It was near sunset as we strolled through our local cemetery. Though we didn’t have any family members buried there, I thought it would be a good opportunity to explain the meaning of Memorial Day to her.

“Do you know what war is?” I asked.

“When people fight,” she answered, then clarified herself; “A whole bunch of
people.”

“That’s right, but do you know why they fight?”

She thought a moment, then shook her head. Continue reading

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Finding the meaning in little flags

image It’s been 14 years since I introduced my oldest daughter to the meaning of Memorial Day. She was seven then, but I still remember the short gusts of warm wind on my neck, the earthy smell of the fresh-cut grass, and the hushed snap of small American flags standing like sentries next to dozens of tombstones along the hillside.

“How come some of them have little flags, and some don’t?” my daughter asked.

It was near sunset as we strolled through our local cemetery. Though we didn’t have any family members buried there, I thought it would be a good opportunity to explain the meaning of Memorial Day to her.

“Do you know what war is?” I asked.

“When people fight,” she answered, then clarified herself; “A whole bunch of
people.”

“That’s right, but do you know why they fight?”

She thought a moment, then shook her head. Continue reading

If a tent falls on a man in the forest, should he make a sound?

(Given that we are only halfway through a three-day weekend, I have no idea where you are reading this from. And depending on how well your holiday weekend is going, chances are, neither do you. And for those of you who, instead of calling a friend or family member in the U.S., have opted to use the spotty Internet service from your Tijuana jail cell to read this week’s Flashback Sunday, I appreciate your commitment. As you know, this is the day we dust off a column from my blogging past, back when I though “Freshly Pressed” was a dating website for recently divorced journalists. So sit back and relax wherever you are — lawn chair, commode, alley way, Reno honeymoon suite next to a naked person you don’t know — and take a trip with me to the past. Who knows? You might even remember how you got here…)

imageOur family loves to go camping. In fact, we make sure to get out and pitch our tent — without fail — once a year.

Traditionally, this takes place during the busy Memorial Day Weekend so that as many people as possible can witness a 46-year-old man being attacked by his own tent. In my defense, I have to say our tent is very large; especially when it is laying flat on the ground.

If I hadn’t lost the step-by-step instructions that came with it, I’m sure the assembly process would be a lot easier because, as a man, I could use them to, step-by-step, blame everything on having lousy instructions. What this means is that over the Memorial Day Weekend my handiwork will again be mistaken for a hot air balloon that has crash-landed into our family’s camp site. Continue reading