Ah, Memorial Day. Cookouts and flags and parades and in Washington, Rolling Thunder roaring their hogs down your street. Yup, it’s a bikers’ paradise in DC and I’ve had a grand old time observing the interesting fashion, a.k.a leather vests and eagle crests the size of dinosaurs, that go along with it.
But in my attempt to be more thankful this year, I try to actually think about what the holiday I am stuffing my face on actually means. And today while I attempt to make fried chicken, I also want to think about America’s fallen heroes and their families. I started Googling Memorial Day to learn a bit more about when it began (May 30, 1868), and I came across an article in the Washington Times about Barack Obama personally writing letters to the families of fallen troops.
As the article explained: “Ms. Merz [mother of fallen] said she was struck by the personal tone of Mr. Obama’s letter, which arrived before the official correspondence from Congress, and she wasn’t sure whether they were his words or those of a staffer. When told by The Times that Mr. Obama writes the letters himself, she said the words became more powerful. ‘It says to me that he, too, will be paying attention to more than just the numbers, but the real stories,’ Ms. Merz said.”
Obama also wrote letters as a US senator and would send families of Illinois service members a letter and a flag that had flown over the Capitol. While in office, President George W. Bush also sent personal letters to every family of the 4,000+ troops that died. 4,000 letters? Wow.
Maybe it’s because Stacey and I are now very emotionally attached to letter writing, but this was the most touching thing I read today. So here is to presidents past and present who understand the power of the pen and the sacrifice of the families of the fallen.