Guide Your Family To New Memorial Day Memories

Saturday, May 26, 2018 - by Linda Mines, Hamilton County Historian

Commemorating Memorial Day’s long weekend often allows families to gather for good food, fun and games and reminiscing about yesterdays. But, with a bit of planning, families can enjoy each of these special moments while simultaneously creating memories that focus on the true meaning of the weekend. 

So how can you guide your family to new memories while paying homage to our fallen members of the armed forces? It’s as simple as 1-2-3.

1. Bring out those old photos. Since families are more mobile today and are often scattered across a region, there are less opportunities for younger family members to hear stories about their ancestors, including the memories of the older living family. Did you know that your grandfather is a U. S. Army veteran who served in the Delta region of South Vietnam? Or that your great-aunt earned her pilot’s license in 1942 and trained young pilots during World War II? Looking at old photos often trigger stories that personify your family’s history and character values. Use your phone to record those stories to share with other family members who could not join you for the weekend. Some of the best recordings can be found when you get a group of older family members together and simply toss out a general question such as ‘Did you have family and friends who were drafted or volunteered for Vietnam?’. Let the conversation flow. When the conversation begins to wane, ask another question. ‘Did we have family who served during The Great War? Do you remember hearing stories when you were younger about those family members?’ You’ll leave the weekend gathering with a new appreciation of your family’s role in preserving our liberty and freedoms.

2. Visit a family cemetery or the Chattanooga National Cemetery. Moving from the stories of your family’s service to our Republic to standing in front of that family member’s tombstone creates a profound connection for most people. Take a small U. S. flag with you to mark the grave. Place the flag one foot from the center of the stone. Read the name aloud and the dates of birth and death. Historians believe that as long as someone speaks a name aloud that person is never truly forgotten. Spending time in a family cemetery is a perfect way to become interested in your family’s genealogy.

3. Create a simple family tree, using names, known dates and photos. Tracing your ancestry is a low-cost hobby and completing the puzzle not only sharpens your research skills and increases your family knowledge, but conversations with family members strengthen the ties that bind your family. Genealogical research is a wonderful shared hobby for grandparents and grandchildren, from organizing old photos to visiting former homes and important historical sites. Imagine how much more interesting a trip to Gettysburg on a Memorial Day would be if you know your great-great-grandfather served during that turning point battle. 

So, fire up that grill and make that fresh lemonade. Hoist your U. S. flag and share your love of God, Home and Family with your neighborhood. Chat about the weather, the amazing ribs and potato salad and then guide the conversation to the connections between your family and military service. Memorial Day may well become your favorite day of commemoration.

- - -

Linda Moss Mines is the Chattanooga and Hamilton Historian, a member of the Tennessee Historical Commission and an active member of the Chief John Ross Chapter, NSDAR.

 

 



The Papers Of Andrew Jackson Project Receives NEH Award To Publish 3 New Volumes

The Papers of Andrew Jackson project has received a $325,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to prepare three new volumes for publication, covering 1833 through 1835. This grant is the second highest among the 21 awarded this year within the NEH Scholarly Editions and Translations program. "This generous grant is the largest we have ever received from ... (click for more)

Chester Martin: My 6th Grade Class Picture At Sunnyside School

With many thanks to a faithful reader, I recently received a flood of old memories when he sent the picture you see here. He had found my name written with all the others on the back and wondered if that might be me. It was, and it required no further descriptions or explanations, as I suddenly became a 6th grader again for a few moments, and the year was 1946(!) WOW! I know most ... (click for more)

Authorities Say Hixson Man Shot And Killed His 15-Year-Old Son On Saturday Night; Also Killed Family Dog

Authorities said a Hixson man shot and killed his 15-year-old son on Saturday night. A report says Mike McElrath, 46, who was found naked at a neighbor's house, also killed the family dog. McElrath was a former Hamilton County corrections officer from 1996-1999. County deputies responded at 10:24 p.m. to 1846 Cotter Road. The residents said there was a man on their front ... (click for more)

Gary Douglas, 25, Shot Early Sunday Morning; Dewayne Stanley, 24, Is Arrested

Gary Douglas, 25, was shot early Sunday morning, and Dewayne Stanley, 24, was arrested.   The Chattanooga Police Department responded at approximately  3 a.m.   to a person shot on the 4700 block of Murray Lake Lane. Upon arrival, officers were able to locate Douglas, who was suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound.   Investigators ... (click for more)

Use Purse Building For Chattanooga Museum Of History And Industry

I was caught off-guard and pleasantly stoked by Eric Atkins' editorial on Chattanoogan.com last week suggesting that one of the soon-to-be surplused city buildings could be turned into a history museum.   I didn't think anyone other than myself that I didn't know cared, or at least would turn their thoughts into the topic of an editorial.  I believe that most of the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Many Math-Tragic Replies

The reaction to my Sunday story, “90% Can’t Do Math,” was fast and furious yesterday. A surprising number of the replies were from teachers, confirming the fact that only nine percent of the pupils in our Hamilton County Public Schools are getting the education that every taxpayer know will actually shape the lives these students will live. Because my stories are shared on the ... (click for more)