Reflections on Memorial Day

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Memorial Day is a sacred day when we pause to honor and remember those throughout our history who have served our country with great sacrifice, courage and commitment. First and foremost, this day is for them. As someone once remarked, “We don’t know them all, but we owe them all.”

Memorial Day is also considered the unofficial start of the summer season, when seaside and country cottages—shuttered over a long, cold winter—are swept clean, windows are thrown open for that rush of spring air and everything is ready for dreamy sunny days ahead. It is a time when antique and ice cream shops hang their “open for the season” signs again and there is a feeling of optimism and excitement as vacation plans are made.

Of course, there are the many gatherings of families and friends that take place with backyard barbeques, fireworks and parades. We lay out a parade of “picnic” foods—and one dish that is a must on the table is my father-in-law’s grilled hero hotdogs; each one housing slivers of sharp cheddar cheese and each one wrapped in ribbons of bacon. The hot dogs are grilled until the skin crackles and the cheese oozes and the bacon is crispy. It is hardly the healthiest offering, but it is a family tradition; once a year, in his honor, this is a special treat!

Other favorites—such as grilled sweet peppers and mushrooms—are great go-togethers with chicken, hamburgers or grilled seafood. Don’t forget a really good potato salad—not one cloaked in heavy mayonnaise, but instead marinated in olive oil, with herbs and a hint of vinegar.

Everyone looks forward to dessert—such as rhubarb and strawberry crisp or cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream, or a light angel-food cake served with sliced fruit, or cool wedges of watermelon.

When everyone is gathered at the table decorated with American flags, we can reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day, and give thanks for selfless gifts of the brave men and women in our military.

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