My Memorial Day

Burrit H Riggs As a child I’d often climb up the creaking ladder to the stuffy old attic at my Grandma Riggs’s house. She had boxes of photos and treasures for me to dream over.

This picture was one of them.

That fellow in the blue? That’s my Great-Great-Great-Great Grandpa. His name was Burritt Riggs and he was in the Union Army during the Civil War. During the battle at Monacacy, he was mortally wounded while attempting to save the life of another man.

On Memorial Day I think of him. I think of his wife, Hannah and how much of a blow his death must have been to her. I think ofmy Great-Great-Great Grandpa Adelbert (on the chair…yes, it’s a boy. Apparently toddlers all wore dresses then. And someone colored his dress pink.) and his older brother Seymour Riggs (the little man standing beside his father). How they grew up without their dad. I wonder how they found out. What happened in those days and weeks after the news. I wonder if Grandpa Adelbert could even understand. I know Uncle Seymour did.

It breaks my heart to think of their story. And it makes me proud at the same time.

Memorial Day is when we remember those who fell while in service to our country. As much as I hate war and wish we could have peace, I love those who serve us. And I want to honor those who have given their lives. I want to honor their families, too.

My way of doing that?

Remembering the days of sitting in the stuffy attic, looking at this photo. And remembering how proud it always made me to know that my Very Great Grandfather was a hero.

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