With flowers, trees, birds and bees in full bloom now and bustling activity, I reflect this Memorial Day Weekend on family and especially those who have served in the military. Each year my husband puts up hanging flower baskets on the front porch, and finches seem to find them a perfect resting place for nest, laying eggs and waiting for the young birds to emerge. This year is no exception. As a Brownie Troop member in Massachusetts, I carried the American Flag during a town parade. This was quite some feat for an elementary-age girl since the flag was especially heavy in the breeze. Parades take place everywhere this weekend. American flags sway in the air. Most families have been touched by wars and have their own stories. My family is no exception.
My father was called to active duty during WWII when I was a toddler. As I glance at photos in the albums he and my mother prepared and gifted us daughters, I see a happy and proud Dad. Many of his brothers also served. When we moved to Colorado when I was ten, my family and I did not get back to Massachusetts often to visit our relatives. The Niemczura family has spread to many states in the US: Colorado, Washington, New Mexico, California, New York, Hawaii, and Maine to mention a few as well as to many countries.
The importance of family cannot be overstated. Family is the backbone of the community. Children who have a loving family to support and nurture them, gain independence and resilience in life. I treasure the gifts my parents gave us and have tried to pass them on to our children. After love and, in no certain order, were faith, education, music, and the freedom we had as children to grow and learn from our mistakes so that we became productive, independent and mature young women.
No matter what, we always knew our parents loved and supported us. I wish that for all young people today even though I know it is not always the case. We all need to be role models and to help one another in our endeavors. If we learn to walk in another’s shoes, we become more tolerant individuals and discern more about ourselves. As we reflect upon the past, let us recognize what we have learned along life’s path and pass these lessons on to the young. We each have unique gifts to pass on to the next generation. Treasure these gifts.