I like Memorial Day a lot. It signifies the start of summer, and I love summer. We get a nice long weekend, and the weather really starts to warm up. But I always try to remember that it is more than just a long weekend and the start of summer—it’s about those who have served and who are serving our country. I want to remember and think about them, and I want my kids to do the same.
One thing we’ve been doing for years to try to help us think about our servicemen and women is to go to the Memorial Day Concert on the West Capitol Lawn. There is always a great lineup of singers and performers. The program is inspirational and moving, and I always leave with an increased respect and gratitude for those who have served and sacrificed for our country.
It’s also just a lot of fun to be there. The atmosphere is fun—everyone has blankets and chairs spread out, and for us, we always have to bring a picnic dinner. The concert is very family friendly; there are always lots of children around. In fact, during one of the songs, a few little girls were dancing around in a circle in the grass. Watching them brought smiles to our faces. The show starts at 8:00, but we always get there a couple of hours early to enjoy our picnic dinner and play games (and to claim our spot!). There are two performances—one on the Saturday night of Memorial Day Weekend—which is actually the dress rehearsal, and the real deal is on the Sunday night of Memorial Day Weekend. On Sunday night the show is broadcast on PBS.
We usually go to the dress rehearsal on Saturday night because there are generally fewer people, but we’ve been to the live Sunday night performance and that’s worked out fine too.
Whichever night we go, I always walk away thankful for this wonderful, free country I live in, thankful for the men and women of our armed services that have made such great sacrifices for all of us and thankful to be an American.