Freedom is not free. Today, from our family to yours, thank you to all who have served in the military, past and present, and to their families. Thank you for the sacrifices you have willingly made to defend our freedom and protect our country. We are grateful for you.
We wanted to make sure that we helped Noah to understand what Memorial Day is all about, as much as a two-year-old possibly can, so we started by placing a flag in the front garden and talking about its symbolism. I asked him what shape he saw in the corner, then explained that each star represents a state in our country. We talked about things we've done and seen in a few different states to help him comprehend that. Then, I asked him what colors he saw and told him that the red was for the blood of soldiers who fought for our country's freedom. In "Noah language" here's what we told him.
"Freedom is being able to pray to God if we want to, praise Him how we want to, say and think and do what we want to. Sometimes, one country fights with another like in your movie Duke and the Pie War. You know how those people are angry with each other and they fight? That happens in the real world too. Soldiers are men and women who fight to protect us and defend our country and make sure we still have freedom."
Next, I explained to him that there were some soldiers in our very own family. My hubby's cousin Caitee married a soldier named Austin who is serving right now. I explained to Noah that he has to sacrifice being with his family, including his new little baby girl, so that he can protect our country.
I also showed him on his special family tree who the veterans were. Hubby's grandfathers both served in WWII, one flew planes and one was in the Army in the Pacific Theatre. My father's father was also in the Army, working in communications, and my other grandfather served in the Navy. We pointed these men out to Noah and told him as simply as we could that they were soldiers too; one in a plane, two on land, and one on a boat, and that they had stood up for what was right.
Then, it was time for Noah to make Thank-you cards. He made one for Austin, and one for Great-Grandpa L., the only one of our grandfathers who is still living. We just took white cardstock, cut it in half, and folded it to make the card base. Noah then colored on it with red and blue crayons. We used a Stampin' Up! star punch to punch out red and blue stars, which Noah was only too happy to glue on "all by hisself."
Finally, we took a trip to the War Memorial in the center of town to see my paternal grandfather's name on the plaque honoring those who served. We showed Noah, who was excited to see that not only does he share a middle name with his grandfather, he shares it with his great-grandfather as well.
I think seeing the name and thinking about him as a soldier gave Noah a special connection to him, which means a lot to me since they never got to meet.
He enjoyed seeing the statues and other things around the memorial too.
All in all, I think it was a success. He surely doesn't understand in full, but at least he comprehends on some level that there are men and women who choose to be soldiers and to protect us and our freedom. And for two years old, I think that's a good start!
Thank you again to all who have taken on that role and served our country so selflessly. We are grateful for your service.