"This is Mr. Vince. He is a Marine. He likes dogs, motorcycles, and pretty girls. He is a hero."
-Dannika Jane, Age 5 (Speaking to her Kindergarten class about her daddy's best friend)
Last night, we sat down and had an honest, real, and deep conversation about the meaning of Memorial Day.
The best way we could explain to her was by telling her about a very good friend of Nick named SSgt Vincent Bell.
Our son's middle name is named after him, so the conversation started with her little brother's name, and why we chose to honor Vince by giving Mattis his name.
We told her that he went to Afghanistan to fight bad people, and never made it back home, and ended up going to heaven before he could even get a chance to say bye to his family and friends.
We told her about the millions of little girls around the world who were not allowed to go to school because they had no freedom like we do here in America.
The conversation was a lot more in depth than what I want to put on my blog, but at the end of the conversation, she wanted to share with her class mates about "Mr. Vince" and what he did for our freedoms.
I was so moved by my five year old's request, so I texted her teacher right away and asked her if that would be ok.
Then we sat down together with Nick, and Dannika wrote down some fond memories that Nick had of his dear friend.
Vince also liked beer, but we decided that was not appropriate to share with a Kindergarten class...lol.
Afterwards, I had this bright idea that maybe Nick could go in his uniform to talk to her class about Memorial Day, what it meant, and talk about Vince.
Dannika's teacher immediately said yes, and invited Nick into her classroom.
He shared photos of Vince with the class, talked about Vince's service, and talked about the Marine Corps.
The day was even more special because Vince's older sister London got to "sit in" via speakerphone and listen.
She even got to say hi to the kids, and they thanked her for Vince.
My hope is that these adorable and precious kids have a small understanding of why we have the freedoms that we do.
I hope that most of them will remember 10 years from now the "Gunny" that came and spoke to their Kindergarten class about Memorial Day, and remember hearing about SSgt Bell.
Yes...Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of our fallen heroes.
That does not mean "get on Facebook and make everyone feel bad about enjoying Memorial Day with BBQ's and celebrations".
Enjoy your day...
Have a BBQ.
Smile, laugh, and have fun...
Just take a moment to remember why the day is there.
Terminal Lance described it best...
"Memorial Day is a national holiday dedicated to remembering the fallen. This much is true and should be regarded with absolute respect. With that said, I think every Marine I’ve ever met would rather see me spend the day enjoying my freedom–a gift bestowed upon me through the sacrifice of good men–then spend all day on Facebook trying to make people feel bad. I think a moment of silence, a thought of remembrance, a deep breath in solemn respect for those that gave their lives, is enough for any ghost of Marines past to feel satisfied."
Have a great weekend, y'all!
I've started mine with a glass of chilled pinot grigio in my new long stem wine glass!