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Empty Spot at Our Table

I thought of my brother often this weekend. While we have been busy studying, playing and preparing for summer, he has been busy training a group of young Marines, preparing them for war.

We skipped our town parade, a parade where a very small number of veterans march but every town politician comes out to shake hands, and every youth group marches while parents proudly snap pictures. Not of the veterans, of their children. Not to minimize their children’s accomplishments whatever they may be, but it seems to me that we have lost sight of the meaning of this day. The focus of this parade is not the Veterans, but on the litany of groups from across our town. I tire of watching vendors hawk their cheap wares to children more interested in gathering up the candy that is casually tossed to parade attendees than clapping for those who served in the Armed Forces. Have we forgotten the meaning of this somber holiday?

This year, our family attended a much smaller parade in a beachfront neighborhood in our town. My daughter marched for the first time ever as part of her homeschool Brownie Troop and the parade culminated at the local green. The focus of this parade was not on the children marching. Our priest gave a blessing, ending with the words from Taps, which I have never heard before. We covered our hearts and said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang along to the National Anthem. It was a meaningful celebration of Memorial Day.When my family gathered at my house later, we felt the absence of my brother.

Tonight as Memorial Day Weekend comes to a close, I say a prayer for the military families in this country who like us, had an empty spot at the table. We miss our 2nd Lt. but we are blessed that for now he is not in harms way. We are thankful for the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice and our thoughts and prayers are with their families who will always have an empty spot at their table. We are grateful to the men and women proudly serving our country. Uncle Paul, stay safe.

Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar drawing nigh,
Falls the night.
Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the skies
All is well, safely rest;
God is nigh.
Then goodnight, peaceful night;
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright.
God is near, do not fear,
Friend, goodnight.


  1. I couldn't agree with you more. Our town is the same way. For several years our girls marched in the parade with their Brownie troops and parents would whine that they had to cut their trip to the beach short. I think many people focus on Memorial Day as the beginning of summer and a fun filled three day weekend and completely lose sight of the fact that the purpose is to honor our troops.

    We have a sweet, older gentleman next door who fought in World War II and Korea and he always gives us an American flag every Memorial Day and tells us some of his stories of what he saw in Germany and Romania and Korea.

    I will pray for your brother's safety and that of his troops. Thank God for people that are willing to give all for this country. People don't realize just how much we owe them.


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