Will and I began reading the Magic Tree House children's book series last summer during our library's summer reading program. We've cruised through one or two chapter books each month, breaking up the mystery and suspense of Jack and Annie's adventures back in time with Calvin and Hobbes, Star Wars, and superhero books. Just recently we devoured Magic Tree House #21, Civil War on Sunday, which was my favorite book in the series thus far because of its focus on Clara Barton.
After finishing this incredibly entertaining but also factually-based and age-appropriate story, Will and I decided to learn a little more about the Civil War by way of a few simple Google and Wikipedia searches. Will was particularly interested to learn that Memorial Day, which originated after the Civil War to honor the Union soldiers who had died serving our country, was formerly known as Decoration Day. Since I couldn't immediately explain the Decoration Day name or why our country transitioned from Decoration Day to Memorial Day, our research continued until he felt I'd answered his questions. Or until it was time for Wild Kratts. I can't be sure.
During our research I came across this quote, and it spoke to me.
I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did. ~Benjamin Harrison
I believe in solemnly honoring those who've given their lives in service to our country, and I will do so today. But I also believe in joyfully celebrating our freedom, made possible by their sacrifice.
Happy Memorial Day.