In lieu of my new "Not Me Monday" I'd like to take a moment to say Happy Memorial Day."

Years ago when I visited the island of Oahu I had the unbelievable opportunity to be there on Memorial Day. I was able to visit "Punchbowl Cemetery". Here's a little info on it...

It was built in 1948 in the crater of a volcano. This gives it the appearance of a "punchbowl". On September 2nd, 1949 the dedication ceremony took place for the Memorial site. Some of the first people to be buried there were 776 casualties from the attacks on Pearl Harbor that happened on the other side of the island. It also honors people from World War 2, Korea, and Vietnam and their family members. It is now filled to capacity with 33,230 gravesites.At the site they also have a building that is dedicated to honoring men and women from all the different branches of the military and the different wars. They have a small chapel to pay your respects in, maps of the war areas, history on each military branch, and a wall honoring people missing in action. It is said to have 22,778 people's names on it.

The day I was there they had placed an American flag on every grave. It was breathtaking. I will never forget the notes in the visitor book. Nor will I ever forget the lone veteran weeping in the chapel. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to visit this national memorial and witness it's awe and beauty.

In the center of the chapel area is a huge fountain with the inscription

"The Solemn Pride That Must Be Yours To Have Laid So Costly a Sacrifice Upon the Altar of Freedom."

Thank a soldier today and every day. It is only because of them that we can celebrate a day like today by grilling hot dogs and drinking beer on the beach. It is only because of their Ultimate Sacrifices that we are Free to do so.