Memorial Day 2015

Matthew Dowling with sons Parker 2 & Holden 6. (Photo Credit: Candace Valentino)

May 25th, 2015

Today, Candace and I took Holden and Parker to an early morning Memorial Day service over at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park so they can see it's more than just a day off from school.

We got to meet and thank some of the Veterans from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm and more including the Buffalo Soldiers, for their service.

I've been waiting a long time for my kids to be old enough to go to things like this. I feel it's very important to teach our kids virtues like gratitude, and propriety.

The idea that we are all part of a bigger community and are not alone in our journey. We are after all, accountable to each other, our friends, neighbors, business', you get the idea.

Being a part of a bigger and more diverse community is a good thing. Together, as a community, we can preserve our sentiments and traditions.

Of course, Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, is about taking a day off and having some great bbq's. But somebody, somewhere, paid the check so the rest of us could do that. and sharing.

I can remember my mom dragging my sister and I to things like this. And we of course fought her... 

(Photo Credit: Candace Valentino)
"Washington Crossing the Delaware" comes to mind. Every Christmas, my mom would take us to see the local historians dress up and try to cross the river, just like they did on Christmas in 1776. And every year, the Delaware River was frozen, and it was just a bunch of nerds standing around dressed in white wigs...or so I thought.

I didn't fully appreciate it then, but I do now. It was about being together. About being a part of the community and coming together and remembering those who came before us.

And now is probably a good time for me to say, thank you mom. Thank you for dragging us out of the house and making us do things. As I said to my son Holden today, "Remember this Holden. Try to remember every part of this because it won't always be like this, so remember everything you can about it. And one day, you will be the dad, and you will understand why it was important to remember all of this."

These veterans are a part of history. They are living history. And even though I am far from being a soldier or a military kind of guy, they fought so guys like me didn't have to be. Some of us are soldiers, some are doctors, artists, actors, filmmakers, business people, etc. And they served, so that I didn't have to, and so I could have the freedom to choose my own path. Today, I shook as many hands as I could, mostly the guys who served in WWII and the Buffalo Soldiers because they are much older and fewer in numbers.

Today, I smiled and thanked them for their service. I did this, while my oldest asked them for some cookies.

It was all very humbling.

Video Credit goes to: The LAPD Honor Guard, The LAPD Band with Director Don Holcombe, Charles Lane (vocals) and Gabriel Deutsch (guitar).