09/22/18 – Dianne Drake

Friday, May 31, 2013

Celebrating Memorial Day

By Kristina McMorris

Anyone who knows me well is fully aware how much I love celebrations! In my pre-author life, I was

actually the owner of a wedding and event planning company. Having helped coordinate up to fourteen weddings a summer, I’m pretty sure I’ve witnessed enough YMCA and chicken-dance performances to last a lifetime. In other words, it would be safe to say I’m an “expert” at celebrating. The cake, the toasts, the dancing, the joyful smiles. Who doesn’t enjoy an evening of those?

This past weekend, however, was a celebration of another kind. At the mention of Memorial Day, many people today think of barbecues, parades, no work, no school, and travel. All of these are wonderful things, no doubt about it. But of course, the most important purpose of this particular holiday is to properly honor our military servicemen and –women.  

I’m proud to say that our two young sons, as part of the Cub Scout tradition, participate each year in an activity that does precisely that. On the Thursday before Memorial Day, they join hundreds of other Scouts at a national cemetery to pay tribute to those whose bravery helped secure the freedom we all enjoy today.  
In the inevitable downpour, the Scouts grab their allotted stick flags and one by one place them at the grave markers of American veterans. As if this alone isn’t enough to touch my heart, the kids also salute those veterans individually and thank each one aloud by name. Within an hour, 150,000 flags were standing at attention and waving for veteranS whose service hasn’t been forgotten.  

All that said, I think it’s also important for us to remember that honoring our military men and women should occur on more than one day of the year.
My own grandfather’s WWII letters actually inspired me to write my first novel, and I have since tried my best to spotlight the sacrifice of WWII veterans in all of my books. Last year, I had the opportunity to take our kids to visit the
gravesite of that same grandfather, and the boys spent at least fifteen minutes arranging the flowers they brought to look “just right.” We’ve also thoroughly enjoyed sponsoring a soldier serving in Afghanistan by sending letters and care packages with goodies and essentials from home.

In other words, there’s much we can all do in both small and large ways – starting with a simple yet heartfelt “Thank you.”


Now available: Letters From Home, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves,
The Christmas Collector (novella in A Winter Wonderland anthology)
New York Times and USA Today bestseller!


Judith Ashley said...

Kristina, Thanks for joining us and helping us celebrate our 2nd Blog-O-Versary!

My heart aches when I see rows upon rows of flags on the gravesites of the brave men and women who've given so much for us. Without their sacrifices we'd not have the freedoms we cherish.

Your books bring another level of understanding to that time in our history. Looking forward to adding "The Pieces We Keep" to my Kristina McMorris collection!

Anonymous said...

You and your sons are a great example to us all. And your books bring the reality of WWII and its impact on our families, country, and culture to the forefront.

Now, how could you possibly put up a picture of your next book, The Pieces We Keep, and not at least give us a blurb and a release date? Please do so I can put it on my calendar to get.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Beautiful post, Kristina! I was an Army brat growing up, and Memorial Day has always been important to me. Recently, I've been researching World War II in Alaska, and that's given me a renewed appreciation for what our veterans have done for us.

Judith Ashley said...

Genre-ista, Margaret Tanner writes about Australia's participation in WWI in "Daring Masquerade"...While I certainly knew Australia sent men, I had no idea of the numbers, casualties, or the horrors of the war from the Down Under point of view until I read it.

Both WWI and WWII men and women fought so we have the world we live in today. It may not be perfect but I do believe it is much better than it would be if we'd lost those wars.

Paty Jager said...

My dad talks about how the most popular girl in his class was thrown a party when her family was taken to a camp for Japanese during the war.
He was in the Korean War.

I agree the men and women who put their lives at risk for the rest of us should be thanked more than once a year.

Sarah Raplee said...

What a lovely way to celebrate the lives of fallen soldiers!

I love that your grandfather's letters home during WWII inspired your amazing first book!

Thank you for representing the US for our Romance Around the World Celebration.

Kristina McMorris said...

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond to these wonderful comments! Between copyedits and the end-of-school-year wrap up, it's been a challenge to find time to breathe, lol.

Judith - It's a pleasure to be here. I agree; the Australians' contribution to winning WWII was incredible. I sadly knew very little about it until writing LETTERS FROM HOME, since one of my characters was an Australian pilot in the RAAF. So many tragic stories out of that era, but thankfully just as many inspiring and hope-filled ones too.

Maggie - LOL. You're a doll. THE PIECES WE KEEP is set for release Nov. 26th. (Christmas shopping, anyone? Ha.) This one features a dual timeline of present day and WWII, inspired by true stories of German espionage on American soil. Can't wait to share it with you!!

Lynn - The Alaskan battles during WWII, once again, were something I knew nothing about until researching for my second novel. (Sheesh, look how much I've learned because of writing.) :) The kamikaze charges on the Aleutian Islands were truly astounding. It's remarkable we don't hear more about battles that took place so close to the U.S. mainland.

Kristina McMorris said...

Paty - I've heard stories of the same thing -- small going away parties being thrown for internees. But I've also heard of the opposite, wherein Japanese students simply didn't come back to class one day and their classmates not realizing where they went for many years. Just heartbreaking.

Sarah - Thank you so much for your sweet words! I'm happy to contribute if even in a small way.