Service Project: Show respect at your local cemetery
Prep time: None
Duration: Up to you!
Memorial Day holds a special place in my heart because of the memories created when I was just a kid.
Each year on Memorial Day weekend, my mom would pile the five kids in my family into our Dodge Ram Van and we'd make the five hour road trip from our home outside Seattle to Tillamook, OR. We'd meet our cousins at the local cemeteries and we'd work hard to clean our ancestors' graves. This annual tradition was more than just a weekend away. Many important life lessons were taught to me in those Tillamook graveyards.
- As a small child, I listened to my family's stories and learned to love/respect my family. Although many of the graves were of people I had never met, hearing stories from my parents, grandparents and cousins about their loved ones helped me to gain insight into qualities that I admire. It added to the culture of love we had in the family.
- Though young, I learned to work hard! Some of the graves were overgrown and would take a lot of dedication to get them clean.
- I learned to think outside of myself. As we cleaned graves of the deceased, I came to understand that the world extends beyond my inner circle of friends in elementary school. One year a cousin noticed a hidden grave that had not been taken care of for years. Though we were not related to the person buried there, we took it upon ourselves to keep that grave clean.
- I made memories with my cousins. Sharing that family time doing service helped to solidify our relationships.
Now that I have kids of my own, I've continued the tradition with them. Here are some pictures from some of the last few years:
Today I'll be in Tillamook, remembering the lessons that I learned as a kid and hoping to pass those same lessons onto my girls. Happy Memorial Day!