From the Arlington National Cemetery Website:
Sergeant Ryan P. Baumann, 24, of Great Mills, Maryland, died August 1, 2008, on Route Alaska, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Ryan was my neighbor. He graduated from Great Mills High School in 2003. I'm sorry to say that I didn't know him more than to wave to him and to chitchat with his parents at the mailbox or at neighborhood functions. (Remember that my son's Asperger's emerged in 2000; much of the next several years is a blur of doctor's appointments and education plans. I knew very little of what was happening in the neighborhood or in the country for a good long time.) Ryan died 22 months ago. Though I still know his parents only well enough to chitchat with at the mailbox, I won't forget Ryan or his service.
There are so many who have served, so many who have died. I thank each and every one of them for their service to our country, and I thank their families.
Memorial Day Weekend has become something other than the above. It's the mark of the beginning of the summer season, and for some, the beginning of the fashion season of wearing white with impunity.
Regarding the former, it really is the mark for me that my daytime freedom is coming to an end with the fast-approaching last day of school, and I need to schedule any number of appointments and get my house in order before that day arrives. When my children are home from school, my workload quadruples, as does my stress level.
Regarding the latter, I just don't care.
When I was little, my parents got a new load of sand for the sandbox on my birthday, which is at the end of May, and we usually had some kind of picnic cookout, whether at home or at my grandparents' house. It took me quite a number of years to realize that my birthday was not a national holiday nor the reason we had a day off school.
This year, my kick-off events on Friday were to say goodbye to my husband as he left for his 30th+1 High School Reunion in Pennsylvania, to juggle the picking up of my children from their schools after some schedule changes and a field trip, and to get my son to his dentist appointment, which I scheduled for my husband's CWS Friday and not for his 30th+1 High School Reunion in Pennsylvania Friday. Fast food for dinner, a tick check (seven ticks) and a shower for my daughter, a little play time, and early to bed.
Saturday yielded a trip to Petco and Target and the after-dinner viewing of The Tooth Fairy. Not so early to bed, but not bad. My husband got home a little before midnight.
Sunday came. My daughter asked to have a friend over, and since it was quite hot, I set up the sprinkler, and later the slip 'n' slide, for them. Sunday also brought the final event of the AWANA year: a picnic for the leaders and their families at the home of the AWANA director. My daughter and I went. It was nice to be with AWANA people outside of a meeting night -- way less AWANA stress for me since I didn't have to take attendance, log verses, or figure out AWANA Shares! It was a social gathering, though, and for two people who have social issues, it had its own set of challenges, but I think my daughter and I did OK.
Monday was a quiet day. I thought a lot about those service men and women who gave their lives for their country, my country.
And somewhere in there, I got a mosquito bite on my eyelid and a rosacea breakout. I'm puffy and itchy and splotchy. I'm typing this post with one eye closed as blinking makes the skeeter bite itch even worse, and I'm twitching to scratch and rub and generally irritate further that which is already irritated quite nicely, thank you.
With absolutely no disrespect intended, I'm thankful to be itchy in the United States of America.