Thoughts on Memorial Day

Lt. Col. Edgar W. Boggan with his wife, Edith.
Lt. Col. Edgar W. Boggan with his wife, Edith.

I never know what to say on Memorial Day. Thank you always seems so small in light of the courageous sacrifices made by those who serve in our military. Alas, as far as words go, it is all I have: Thank you. 

But words are not all we have, are they? We also have actions. I hope I honor the sacrifices of our military service members in the way I live each day, how I guide and teach my children and how I serve others. I hope our way of living brings life to the ideals you have died to protect. As I stare at my children, I am even more grateful. Their life is brighter because so many soldiers decided the future of this country was something worth fighting for, worth dying for. Thank you to all those who have served and died for this country. 

Thinking about Memorial Day in the context of this blog, I was thinking about the concept behind Umbrella Moms. What is an Umbrella Mom and how can it help us honor the sacrifices of those who serve, served or died for this country?

My mother grew up an Army brat. Her mother (Edith Boggan, pictured above) raised two children, essentially as a single mother, as her husband (Lt. Col. Edgar Boggan, pictured above) fought overseas in WWII. They were stationed, as a family, in Germany for five years following the war. My grandmother had umbrella friends who helped her get through the years her husband was overseas fighting the war. She had umbrellas who helped her settle in overseas. She had umbrellas who helped her settle in each new post they were sent to. Umbrella Moms help our friends. We help perfect strangers. We simply show up when we see a storm rolling in. We hold the umbrella over the one in need so they can focus on the important things beneath it. We strengthen other moms so that they may remain strong for others. Of course, we also revel with each other in the sunshine as well.

As I think about this, I want to challenge you. Let this Memorial Day serve as a reminder that it is not just the soldier who serves. Their loved ones serve as well. We can honor the sacrifices of our service members by offering an umbrella to the loved ones who remain stateside. Send a text when you are on your way to the grocery store to see if they need anything. Call to offer yourself as a babysitter. Drop off a meal, for no other reason than it it sometimes nice to not have to cook. Stop by to watch their kids so they can fold some laundry. DO a load of laundry for them. Bring flowers or sweets or a note saying what a great job they are doing. We can help strengthen our soldiers by letting them know their loved ones are cared for and protected while they are away.

I often talk about Umbrella Moms shielding other moms in the storms of life. Sometimes, the storms are so great there is simply no way to shield someone. The rain splashes back up. The wind batters the umbrella, turning it inside out and blowing it away. One must walk through this sort of storm without protection. Someone receives notice their loved one has been killed or is missing in action. In these cases, we show up and walk through the storm with them. Hold their hand. Hold them up. Cry with them. Hope with them. Remember with them. Love them. Let them know, we are with them, always. For however long it may take, we stand with them throughout the storm until they are able to see the rainbows and the sunshine again.

So, thank you to all the service members and your families. Thank you to those who died serving your country. You are courageous. You are strong. You are noble. You are loved. You have been our umbrella so we may be yours.


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