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This weekend, we prepare for what is perhaps America’s most sacred holiday. How can we, as American parents, show this truth to our children? One way is to drape red, white and blue over our doors.

I have fond memories of my father hoisting our American flag on our front yard flagpole. Every night, I watched my father ceremoniously lower that same flag, arms outstretched, careful that the fabric did not touch the ground. My father instilled this respect for our flag in my heart and it stayed with me. He showed me how to fold the flag into a perfect triangular bundle, carefully tucking its edge before climbing the steps to our Cape Town home which had a watchful American eagle above the front door.

Some might call this chauvinism, but it nurtured a sense of gratitude to those brave American servicemen who sacrificed their lives so that we Americans at home could live in peace.

This morning I think of my late father who served in Korea before I was born. I grab the red, white and blue buntings, delicately folded and placed in a box in the attic where I left them last fall. I gather the waves of patriotic material in my arms.

Warm-weather welcome pastimes begin this weekend, and lining the front porch first with red, white and blue is a prime annual tradition.

As we solemnly approach this memorial time of the year, it is imperative that we teach our children these symbolic rituals of freedom simply by attending a Memorial Day tribute in our hometown. These ceremonies are a clear reminder of why freedom matters. They call on us, as citizens of this great country, to humbly march in parades on behalf of those who fought for freedom, to attend speeches that announce incredible courage and ultimate sacrifice.

These are the unsung heroes we should bow our heads and cover our hearts for.

I walk down the stairs to the lobby, reminded of the grave harm the military faces away from home to keep me, my family, and my community away from harm here at home. Opening the front door to a cool, gloomy day, a deep sense of gratitude unfolds as the wave of Stars and Stripes in red, white and blue are placed below the porch windows.

Banners hung and fabrics smoothed, a reverence comes over me and once again I am aware of the imperative to teach our children the true heroes of our United States of America and what this heritage means to us in as free Americans.

Time is reserved for reflection as a wreath of ribbons and carnations will be laid in front of our city’s memorial. A symbol of the gifts with which we have been endowed thanks to those who are ready to defend and protect our freedoms. All the picnics, games, barbecues, hikes, beach, camping, strolls along a scenic drive, the urge to plant a garden, or the luxury of a quiet afternoon with a book or the privilege of storytelling a story to a child who climbs on our lap are blessed by this commemoration. Whatever your plans, plan to bring your child to be part of this ceremony of recognition for all the brave soldiers who gave their lives so that we can live ours in peace.

Show your child the meaning of Memorial Day. Children who understand why we celebrate together understand that we owe a debt of thanks to those who fought and sacrificed their lives for our freedoms and rights, grow up to be Americans who will strive to make this nation a beacon of hope and sovereignty forever. These lessons of duty and sacrifice keep the Declaration of Independence dear and its Bill of Rights cherished. Freedom must never be taken for granted or it will be trampled on in the dust of cynicism and lost in a sea of ​​ignorance and violence. Teach our children a deep respect for the Braves and keep peace in their hearts and at home.

Visit a memorial. Read the listings. Observe a minute of silence with your child in front of the plaques engraved with so many names. Educate your child with this story so that there is no mystery why this weekend is an important memorial of the year. Observe the twenty-one cannon shots. Sing America the Beautiful.

Raise the flag that matters most to you, the American flag.