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“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.“ ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Memorial Day weekend is here.
We are leaving in planes, trains and automobiles to celebrate the unofficial start of summer. Of course, there are more somber reasons for this holiday. The observance began three years after the end of The Civil War in response to neglected graves of soldiers who gave their lives for cause and country.
The original May 30 date for ‘Decoration Day’ (as it was originally called) has been changed. We now recognize and honor all of those who died in wars and in peacetime. We put flowers on the resting places of parents, grandparents, children, relatives and friends. Memorial Day has certainly expanded.
“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Memorial Day reminds me of who I am. Each of us comes as a reflection of generations. Our ancestors are there in the lines and creases, the smiles and the color of our eyes. Even the inflections of our speech and sense of humor belongs not only to us. I am made up of their memories. One of the things we might do on this weekend is to share those memories with family members.
What a fitting time this holiday weekend is to tell stories that will honor who we are and who we bring with us. I wish I had listened more closely to the ones that were told when I was a boy. Like so many people, I wish there was a recording of Dad’s voice, his reflections on his service during the war, his perspectives on peace and stories of his childhood. I long for Mom’s recollections of being a girl and rebelling against her own mother and father.
So, I encourage everyone to spend some time at family gatherings this weekend to tell folks about your adventures and misadventures, to share your memories. You may have to wrestle the younger ones to the ground, bribe them with ice cream or catch them at bedtime. But now is the time. Don’t wait because someday, someone might be happy that they listened.
Today I will start to tell my stories. I will bless my ancestors by passing them on.
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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.
In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.
His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.
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Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast