Memorial Day: Remembering & Honoring the Sacrifice

Today is a day to remember the fallen, and the sacrifice made for our country.  This is a day to honor that sacrifice by living a meaningful life.  Huffington Post contributor John Roberts article (2017) Memorial Day: Reflection, Revelry, and Remembrance discusses the importance of tribute.

“As General George S. Patton so powerfully said just before the end of World War II, ‘It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God such men lived.’ On Memorial Day, we should take time to not only honor our country’s lost warriors but also stand alongside those who know too well the toll of war. Our best tribute to all of our brave service members – those who are here and those who have passed – is to ensure we recognize and embrace the freedoms their sacrifices have afforded us by living a happy life.”

The Nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is home of the brave. Elmer Davis

To remember and honor the sacrifice, we need to keep the past alive, live a full life in the present, and prepare for the future.

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave. Calvin Coolidge

It is important to honor those who served and died by keeping the past alive.

In this section I wanted to share stories from family, young adults, and veterans.

Vanessa Desiato’s blog post What Memorial Day Means to Me (2013) shows the importance of remembering the legacy.  

“The military made my brother become the man he was meant to be. He wanted to help people and did that by joining the Marines, the only thing he felt he needed to do. My brother has shown me what dedication, honor, and respect are. He has shown me what it means to be a hero.”

In 2008, as part of an Eagle Scout service project Ian Murphy interviewed WWII veterans.  The video is a synopsis (25 minutes) of 10 hours of interviews.  Ian dedicated the video to “the memory of the men and women who served in WWII and are no longer here to tell their own stories.”

CBS Evening News (Feb. 23, 2018) segment Steve Hartman ‘On the Road’ shared the story of a 20 year old who started interviewing WWII veterans when he was in high school and his “mission to speak to as many veterans as he can” so the stories of those who gave their life would live on through the stories of their comrades.

It is important to find a way to pay respect to military service members who died while serving our country.  We can learn about the legacy of sacrifice by listening to the stories veterans share about their experiences. Groups and individuals across the country have gathered stories, videos, articles, and other artifacts to keep the past alive.

The Library of Congress Veterans History Project “collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear from veterans and better understand the realities of war.”

This project includes personal narratives, correspondence, visual materials, a searchable database, and special sections such as Experiencing War account by four D-Day veterans sharing their individual stories. An opportunity for students 10th grade and above to contribute to furthering the project development is also available.  For those who want a more personal face-to-face experiences the project shares ideas on how to engage your community.

In addition to the LoC Project the History Channel Century of Courage has videos and stories for review. 

It is important to honor those who served and died by living a meaningful life.

In this section I wanted to share an educational program with the mission of bringing together young adults with veterans to share experiences and learn about the history guiding the importance of Memorial Day.

College of the Ozarks Patriotic Education program is an example of how to honor military service.  The goal of this program is “To encourage an understanding of American heritage, civic responsibility, love of country, and willingness to defend it.”

In 2009, College of the Ozarks began the Patriotic Education Travel Program, designed to provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences for students and Veterans from World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The program pairs College of the Ozarks students with Veterans, taking them back to the battlefields where they fought. This Program honors Veterans and helps to educate the younger generation, instilling an appreciation for the sacrifices of American service men and women. (excerpt from website)

This program brings generations together for a shared living experience that honors the dedication of the US men and women who serve our country.

There are blog posts from all the trips sponsored by College of the Ozarks.

It is important to honor those who served and died by preparing for the future.

In this section I wanted to share some ideas on how to show your respect for the holiday that will encourage others to do the same.  A list of a few suggestions include:  

  • Share gratitude…buy and wear a poppy flower, plant poppies in your garden
  • Share understanding…find ways to encourage curiosity of the impact of history
  • Share appreciation… extend conversations beyond surface experiences and delve deeper
  • Offer assistance…care for others
  • Support worthy organizations…give back by sharing talents to aid others
  • Honor the meaning of the holiday…find ways to remember that we are here today because of the sacrifice of others
  • Celebrate your freedom…find your way to honor the day. 
    For example: Fly a flag.  Wear red, white, and blue.

As a lifelong learner consider how you would respond to the questions below.

Questions to ask yourselfMy response
How can I keep the past alive?To increase my knowledge & understanding of history…

I will read and view sections from the Library of Congress and the History Channel.

I will read the College of the Ozarks blog posts.
How can I live a full life in the present?I will apply information from my historical review to the Blooms to Blossoms purpose.
How can I prepare for the future?I will help tell the story of remembrance in my virtual community.

My Purpose + Your Purpose = Our Purpose

At the end of my first blog I stated, “The initial series of posts will be from a broader scope to build a foundation of common thought.” Promoting the idea that integration of life and learning makes a difference guides my purpose. I would like to share some thoughts on how finding my purpose and you finding your purpose can blend together. I also asked, “Have you thought about how you learn?”  Your first thought when asked that question was to a structured school experience from your past.  However, learning also occurs inadvertently and accidentally. Clark (2015) in his Performance Juxtaposition site describes four types of learning and provides a graphic depiction charting the types of learning.

Formal learning: growth & development in a structured setting

Informal learning: growth & development in a more spontaneous manner

Intentional learning: growth & development through self-selected activities based on areas of interest; set objectives

Incidental learning: growth & development that occurs secondary to a prescribed set of objectives

Using a collegiate cross-country runner as an example shows how the learning settings overlap with various wellness components. Consider the following examples:

Formal learning comes from the coach who structures the practices, supplies guidance on running strategies, or suggests a model of shoe to wear based on conditions.

Informal learning comes from experiences the individual runner has during a competition such as gaining knowledge of competitors strengths and weaknesses.

Intentional learning comes from voluntary summer workouts alone or with an informal group.

Incidental learning comes from the experiences of winning and losing or achieving a personal goal/milestone.

Our collegiate cross-country runner can enhance his/her physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual wellness through these various settings. Our runner will even find that the wellness components overlap from setting too setting. There will also be a connection to nature (environmental) and could lead to a future career path (occupational).

So how does this example relate to finding your purpose and influencing your learning?

Check out Kelsey Landrum’s (2016) post titled:
What Running Means to Me, And Some of the Life Lessons It Is Teaching Me

Kelsey shared her personal running experience to show that life is a cumulative process. Making decisions, building, and maintaining relationships, and finding an insightful way of putting various life pieces together will create purpose and balance.

Combining the ideas of Clark and Landrum we can find a path to designing a personal well-being legacy and a strategy to live with a purpose.

Richard Leider (2015), author of The Power of Purpose, provides a simple formula to help your find your purpose.

By reviewing my gifts, passions, and values has resulted in my intent (purpose) to build a community to discuss the meaning of an integrated life. Together, our effort will result in the creation of a well-being legacy to live and to pass on to others.

Mark Victor Hansen, co-founder of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, identified 6 tips to create a balanced life. Some of his tips include:

Assess your life as it is now.
Make a conscious decision to become balanced.
Set goals in every area of your life.
Be willing to take the risk.

Let us consider the idea of our joint purpose:

My Purpose + Your Purpose = Our Purpose

The guiding questions for discussion would be…

Together how do we define our purpose for Blooms to Blossoms community?
How can we live and share our personal well-being legacy?

Next Steps for Me & What’s the Point for You?

I bet you would agree with these statements:

  • Learning continues throughout our lives.
  • The motivation for learning includes personal development and/or professional development.

Have you thought about how you learn?  

By reading my About section  you will find I’ve always been interested in how the pieces of life connect and influence personal and professional development.  My pursuit of this blending of the pieces of life took shape during my graduate work.  I find it interesting to think about where and how these ideas took shape for me. My first assignment in graduate school (I majored in education and sports management) was to write a position paper on the role of sports in society.  I wrote this paper over 35 years ago and it continues to be a solid foundation for my current work.  I will share the concluding sentence of that work with you.  

“The purpose of sports is very simply and fundamentally to provide human beings with experiences that will assist them in achieving a better state of being.”

For me, putting the pieces of life together continues to emerge.  Creating a way to engage others in this conversation is my next step.

To develop this plan, I asked myself the following questions: 

  • How can I share my ideas to be scholarly, practical, and of interest to others?
  • How can I develop a public forum to talk about these ideas?
  • Why does this matter and is it important to others?

I wonder if I could create a community to share ideas and experiences about ways to live a healthy, evolving and enriching life? My idea for Blooms to Blossoms blog resulted from this reflection.  Life is a bud that as we grow will bloom BUT how do we cultivate growth so our life blossoms to its fullest potential?  What are the pollinators that make this happen? For this blog I will describe the integration of wellness, lifelong learning, and personal development as the pollinators.

So, you might wonder…is this blog for me?  I think the answer is YES!!

I will write this blog for young adults to seniors intending to cross generational lines.   Gaining personal knowledge of practice (how you live life) requires reflection.  York-Barr, Sommers, Ghere, and Montie (2006) outlined how to think about reflection from various perspectives in the following way:

Reflect in the present (reflection-in-action);
Reflect back (reflection-on-action);
Reflect forward (reflection-for-action);

Reflect within (reflection-on-self).

Consider your past, present, and vision for your future as you reflect on ways to thrive and blossom.

Consider ways you can share with our readers, family, friends, colleagues, students how you put the pieces together.

Consider ways your experiences transfer knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and beliefs from one aspect of your life to another.

How do the pieces fit together to make a whole?

I’ve posted introductory materials in each of the main categories of the Resources section.  Take a few moments to skim through the resources to stimulate your thoughts.

Hopefully, you’ve gained some insight and perspective on the plan for Blooms to Blossoms. I also hope you’ve found at least one connection to your life and at least one connection you’d like to share with someone.

I plan to post every Monday morning.  The initial series of posts will be from a broader scope to build a foundation of common thought.