I am part of all that I have met.  Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Community has been called a “unified body of individuals”.  This seems appropriate given today is Memorial Day, and given the recent events over the last few days in my life.  On my birthday, last Thursday, I received so many birthday wishes it was overwhelming and filled my heart and soul with joy.  A wonderful body of friends, gardening friends, family, neighbors. extending their wishes to me.  My family called and it was a great day playing in the garden and resting.

On Friday night, my next door neighbor’s house was hit by lightning.  Thank God they were not home and there was no fire.  While they have damage it is not as bad as it could have been.  The lightning exited on the side facing our house and we were urged to check our basement.  We found indeed it had traveled through the ground and went into our basement and ended at our ground wire.  Again no damage for us just very unnerving.  The neighborhood has been extending their friendship to our neighbors and helping them in whatever way they can.  One neighbor is a contractor and he sealed up the hole in the roof line for them already.  We certainly can come together in the face of tragedy, but my street is like this anyhow; friendly, helpful and we love a good get together.

If you have never heard a lightning strike, it is a heart pounding explosion.  It shakes your ground and goes right through you.  It woke me out of  dead sleep.  We had no idea it was right next door.  The words, “there but for the grace of God” are all too real.  Then I think of all the lives lost recently to the tornadoes in the midwest and south especially those I know who have loved ones missing or have lost loved ones, and it is again all too real for me since growing up in Indiana and coming a little too close to this type of tragedy too often.  The sense of community, the outpouring of help from people all over the world and in this country is monumental.

Phil Dykeman

Today is a day of remembrance for all in our Armed Forces who have sacrificed their lives for us.  I take it to heart and think of it as all in service who have perished giving their lives for us.  You name the service it really can mean anyone as far as I’m concerned.  For one neighbor, Phil, it has meant his life protecting us.  He was killed in the Iraq War in 2008 before I met him and his beautiful family who moved in across the street soon after he died.  His wife and 3 children go on now without him, but they have a great community behind them of friends and family.  They have become friends and we cherish them.

My Uncle Harry (my dad’s brother) was in three wars; WWII, Korea, Vietnam.  He won accommodations, Purple Hearts etc , but never talked about it.  Never thought of himself as a hero.  When he died in 2002, I went to his funeral in Arlington.  It was one of the most emotional, humbling and amazing things I ever witnessed; you get the sense of the sacrifice all around you at Arlington.  And he was treated with such honor.  It was just after 9/11 and the ceremony faced the bombed out portion of the Pentagon.  It was very unnerving to be on an airplane so soon after 9/11 and then to see the bombed out building well that certainly added to the emotions.  To actually witness it so soon after and not just in pictures or on the TV.  I think it drove the point home even more.

It is truly amazing to me how we can come to together in the face of tragedy; in a time of need.  We unite as a community for the common purpose to help one another in the face of adversity.  We are part of a group whose strength and purpose brings assistance to those in need.

So on this Memorial Day weekend, I am grateful for my community.  I think of this community as a larger family joined on this Earth to live together peacefully; connected in ways we may never know.  My community of gardening friends I have never actually met who support me daily; my neighbors who laugh and cry together and are there when you need them; my friends who wish me well and join in my joys and not so joyful days and my wonderful family who give me love everyday of my life.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.  There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature— the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
–   Rachel Carson

Special Note: The flowers pictured here all mean remembrance–forget-me-nots, gladiolus, poppy.  They are from my garden and I lovingly plant these flowers in remembrance for all in my community worldwide who have given their life in service to others.

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