As Memorial Day nears– once you choose hope…

Lilacs have such a distinct scent, I suppose you either love or hate it.

For me, it’s always been love.

This afternoon, my neighbor brought over a clutch from her bushes, and oh MY! So good to let this heady aroma flood the room. Soon it’ll fill every corner.

Kind of like a saying our daughter shared with me a few years back. Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

I’ve been thinking about World War II breaking out in Europe–how the chaos spread from country to country, crossing oceans, changing people’s lives. Can’t really imagine how it was for my mother, a high school girl, to watch her two older brothers go off to fight.

They were a poor family, and the younger brother was drafted before he even finished high school. Think of our barely-eighteen-year-old graduates today having to depart for battlefields afar. How hard would that be?

But when challenges mount, hope goes to work. Imagine the HOPES people cherished back then . . . for victory, for loved ones to return, for peaceful times to flourish again. That hope fueled great innovations and unparalleled production in the industrial world.

And it ignited a spirit of unity that we could certainly use more of today.

With Memorial Day nearing, it’s good to recall the sacrifices our grandparents and parents made–more than we can begin to comprehend. As we tote our blossoms to the cemetery this year, remembering means a lot.


For four years, my dad wore this Army Air Corps patch on his uniform, along with thousands of other young men drafted into military service. The only son of an Iowa farmer, he left behind a lot of work for my grandfather.

Times had been tough. They’d lost a farm during the Depression and earned it back through diligence and perseverance. Dad went from driving a team of draft horses through the fields to training in Washington, D.C. And then to North Africa and beyond.

But during World War II, you went when you were called. And you served as long as you were needed. It’s difficult to imagine how much the victory won in Europe meant to these soldiers, sailors, and airmen.