Every Memorial Day we try and do something special. We don't want to forget the sacrifice millions of Americans have made so we could be free. Forgetting is so easy, which is why we should work hard to keep it from happening!
This year we went to Quantico National Cemetery. We drove up to Quantico, VA after a quick breakfast and arrived just on time (11 A.M.)! Grandma and Grandpa arrived before us and saved us a parking spot (which we were grateful for because it was packed!). We then piled out and went up the hill to where the ceremony was to take place. It was so hot outside!! (Mama warned us before we got out of the van not to come complaining to her about it being hot. ;) We knew it was going to be hot but not this hot! If I remember correctly it was about 98 degrees (possibly a record!)!!
Anyways, Quantico Cemetery was absolutely beautiful...American flags were flying everywhere, veterans were walking around, young soldiers crisply stood at attention. Absolutely beautiful. Whenever I see scenes like that I can't help but be proud I'm an American. Patriotism just bubbles out of me and I want to hug every soldier I see! (Well, maybe not that extreme but close! ;)
As we waited for the ceremony to start, Daddy told me to come with him and we went and took some pictures.
Daddy asked this band if I could take a picture of them. I was a little bit nervous taking a photo of people I'd never met (if you know me, you understand :) but they were all so kind and smiled as best they could in the direct sunlight!
Side note: I felt so sorry for all the people in suits and full military uniform...they had to be soaking with sweat! (Kind of a gross detail but it was that hot!)
Standing ever so patiently, groups of soldiers and veterans held many different flags as they waited for the ceremony to begin.
Yeah, lots of flags.
A majority of the flags were just American flags, but I also saw a VA state flag and a P.O.W. flag.
Soon the ceremony began!
Can you spot some of my family?
(It was so hot, we used anything we could to get some shade. An umbrella worked perfectly!)
During the ceremony the flags were presented...
...songs were played...
...the Pledge of Allegiance was said and a keynote address was given (along with many other things).
I don't know about you, but whenever I sing the National Anthem or say the Pledge of Allegiance with my hand over my heart, I get to the crying point. It's all so beautiful and wonderful! Just thinking of our Founding Fathers, the sacrifices men and women made during the Revolution and today...I can't help but be that thankful. Remembering, though, is a poignant reminder of how far we've come from where we once were. :(
Towards the end of the ceremony, the Memorial Day wreath was presented:
After that, Taps was played:
Taps is such an eerie song but I love it so much. I've only heard it two or three times and the more I hear it the more I love it.
This group of soldiers then fired a 21-gun salute. It was amazing! The guy in control (not sure what his rank was...he's the guy in front of everyone else) said something and then "Fire" and the soldiers sharply fired their guns in unison. It happened in a blink and once one salute was over, you hardly knew it happened. Absolutely amazing!
(On a humorous note, if you look at the above photo, the men were arranged from tallest to shortest. ;)
The Memorial Day wreath.
The salute ended the ceremony at Quantico National Cemetery and we then drove the 30 minutes or so to Grandma's house.
Before I go on and tell you about the rest of the day's activities, I must thank those who have served in the military. Thank you so much!! Though we never can repay you, we can at least thank you. :)
Once at Grandma's house, Grandpa cooked up some yummy burgers and hot dogs for us! Uncle Greg and his family showed up a little before lunch and then we sat down to eat our wonderful meal! :)
After lunch, we went down to the den and Grandpa passed out a bag (or box) to everyone. Everyone received a souveneir (or two) from Grandpa and Grandma's recent cruise. :)
The presents the adults got provided lots of amusement:
We keep the head massagers near at hand here at our house and all of our visitors get to have a
head massage if they'd like! :)
After everyone opened their cruise souveniers, Hannah and Amanda (my cousin) got to open their birthday presents! [We celebrated Hannah and Amanda's birthday together even though Hannah's b-day wasn't for a few weeks and Amanda's was the week before. :)]
After presents were opened, the birthday girls took a nap on the couch:
After the birthday beauties woke up, and we all ate dinner, we relaxed some more before singing "Happy Birthday."
After the singing was over, and the candles were blown out, we all got a huge piece of Carvel ice cream cake. It was so yummy!!! :) :)Sorry Pastor Rick, no leftovers :)
We left Grandpa and Grandma's house earlier than usual and returned home safely, ending our memorable (and hot!) Memorial Day!
I know I said last week that I would be posting "soon." Well, I was going to but my Great-Grandma (a.k.a. G.G.) was hospitalized and we've tried to go visit her at least every day. So, I haven't had time to post, but that's okay with me, since G.G. is much more important! :)
G.G. is moving back to her apartment at Covenant Woods today but we're not sure how long she's going to be on this earth. She's fading fairly quickly but she's still so kind and tells you she loves you every time you visit. She's a great great-grandma! :)
I'll try and post about our more recent exploits as time makes itself available! :) [I'm excited about one thing, but I'll leave out what it is until another post! :)]