I don’t usually post stuff like this because I am a pretty private person. But this is just too good not to share. On Saturday at Bridget’s and Brian’s wedding reception, it came time for me to dance with my daughter. Despite all the things that can sometimes separate us, she picked the song, In My Life, by the Beatles, one of my all-time personal favorites.
In doing so, she honored the connection we had when she was a little girl and loved listening to the Beatles with me. She honored the times we played together and read stories together and watched Disney videos together. She honored the family from which she came. She honored my love of history and the importance I attach to keeping important family traditions alive. She honored all the times she enjoyed with her grandparents Maney. And in doing all those things (among others), she told me loudly and clearly that she loves me and that I still matter to her. That’s pretty important to a dad who has just given his daughter away in marriage (a good and wonderful thing). I am really proud of my daughter and happy for her as she begins her new life together with her husband. For those reasons and much more, I am still basking in that dance with her. God is good. Thanks be to God.
On this date in 2010 at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert, OH we debuted the anthem commissioned in my mother’s memory, Longing to Draw Near by Craig Courtney. My grandparents Maney were married on this date in 1917, my dad participated in D-Day on this date in 1944, I graduated from high school on this date in 1971, and my daughter Bridget graduated from high school on this date in 2008. June 6 has been a big day for the Maney family!
Nice. My dad chaired this at one time and believe me, it was a BIG deal for a little town. Floats would come from the Indy 500 to be part of the parade and of course my grandpa Shaffer, who was county truant officer at the time, kept an eye on all the kiddies (you know who you are). Heh. I even have old home movies of a couple of the parades. It was pretty impressive.
Van Wert was known as the peony capital of the world in the early 1900s with many local gardeners growing fields of the flower. The first Sunday in June beginning in 1902 was designated as Peony Sunday.
The community held the first Peony Festival in 1932 and continued until 1960 with some missed years during World War II and the 1950s. In 1992, the Peony Festival returned and has been celebrated each year since its resurrection.
In the early years, the festival highlight was not one, but two parades, which brought in crowds of nearly 100,000 people.
Now the festival spans three days, runs in conjunction with ArtRageous on Friday and Saturday, and offers various events that draw crowds all weekend.
Today is the traditional day for Memorial Day, originally called “Decoration Day.” Up until the 1971 it was always celebrated today. But afterward it has become a movable federal holiday. You can read about its history here, and I hope you will take the time to do so. On a personal note, my grandparents Shaffer were married on this day in 1917. Cool.
Take a moment today to remember again those who have given their lives so that we might enjoy the freedom we have. Take time to remember the current members of our armed forces as well and give thanks that God continues to raise up brave men and women to serve our country in a very dangerous world.
Thank you veterans, past and present, for your service to our country. May God bless you and yours.
This is a great way to honor the veterans in your family, living or dead, and preserve their memory in our national record. Both my mom and dad are part of this project and it was a wonderful way to connect with them. Check it out and get to work.
The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
The Project collects first-hand accounts of
U.S. Veterans from the following wars:
- World War I (1914-1920)
- World War II (1939-1946)
- Korean War (1950-1955)
- Vietnam War (1961-1975)
- Persian Gulf War (1990-1995)
- Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts (2001-present)
In addition, those U.S. citizen civilians who were actively involved in supporting war efforts (such as war industry workers, USO workers, flight instructors, medical volunteers, etc.) are also invited to share their valuable stories.
Our nation observes Memorial Day today, although traditionally it was observed on May 30 until 1971. Thankfully our family did not lose anybody to war, although my grandfathers and dad fought in World War I and II respectively. So in addition to remembering those brave men and women who fought and died to preserve our country’s freedom, I have made this weekend a time for both remembering those in my family who have died and honoring them.
Since they are no longer living, I have decided that on my watch their graves will be well kept and in good repair. So my wife and I go out and trim around the tombstones, rake the graves, clean them up, and put flowers on them for the summer. Doing so is a way for me to continue to honor them, both for being such a good family and for their service to our country.
It also reminds me of how fleeting and transient this mortal life is. When I was a kid, we’d spend Memorial Day at the lake at my grandparents Shaffer’s cottage with my extended family. It was a grand time and I have great memories of those halcyon days. Now I only have their graves to visit and I confess I liked it a whole lot better when I was able to be with them at the lake. In fact, for whatever reason I miss them more keenly this year than I ever have. It seems grief never takes a holiday.
So Memorial Day is a bittersweet time for me and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in feeling this way about it. Honestly, if I did not have the hope of God’s promised new creation with its promise of newly embodied life, the total restoration of God’s beautiful creation, and the abolition of evil and death, I don’t think I could visit the cemetery, let alone maintain my family’s graves, because it would just be too painful. But thankfully I do have the hope of new creation, and when it comes I won’t have to be separated from my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles ever again. Who knows? There might even be a lake where we can gather to celebrate all that God has done for us in the death and resurrection of Jesus. I look forward to that day more than I can tell you. But in the meantime, as long as I am able, I will continue to honor my family, in part, by caring for their grave sites. It is the least I can do considering all they did and sacrificed for me.
May you too find ways to honor and love your loved ones, especially if you are blessed enough to have them still be living.
- The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
JOHN A. LOGAN,
WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.
Today would have been my mama’s 93rd birthday, something she would have no doubt hated if she were alive today (it’s hard to grow old for one so young at heart). My mother was an exquisite role-model of motherhood. She loved me, spent time with me, loved me enough to instill what it meant to be a Maney, and disciplined me when I did not live up to that standard. I hated it at the time, but am grateful for it today. She allowed me to have a childhood that was second to none because she insisted that I be a kid and worked sacrificially to make that happen. In that regard, I miss her presence. But I cannot be sad because I would rather her be where she is than to be here with me and struggling with illness and infirmity (check out this reflection on grief and consolation over parents who have died).
Thank you mama, for being the mother you were. Thank you for all your sacrifice for me and for our family. Thank you for allowing me to grow up in a timely manner and not before it was my time to do so. Thank you for personifying sacrificial love for me. And thank you, dear God, for blessing me with the best parents a person could ever want or dream of having.
Happy birthday, mama. I love you. Enjoy your rest with the Lord who loves you and has claimed you from all eternity.
Rest eternal grant unto Margaret, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.
And for those of you whose mother is still living, make sure you remember your mama on Mothers’ Day this Sunday. Better yet, treat her like every day is Mothers’ Day. I know my mama would surely approve.