Breaking Free event at park

Every Memorial Day, we honor our loved ones who have died, particularly our family members and veterans. We are touched by their courage, sacrifice, love, and wisdom. Yet for many people, Memorial Day brings very complicated reactions, particularly if the ones they are remembering and grieving also hurt them. Every year, there are 3,000,000 reported cases of child abuse and neglect, with 1,000,000 of them being substantiated. If you think about it, children who are being abused and neglected are facing the same kinds of life-threatening, terrifying and overwhelming ordeals that our combat soldiers face. Soldiers are given extensive training, weapons, skilled leaders, supplies, the resources of the U.S. government and the gratitude of our nation. In addition, they have the unqualified devotion of other soldiers beside them who have their back, no matter what. Children get none of that.

Think of what a child feels, facing a huge “enemy,” a raging, screaming person, who may be their mother or father, threatening to beat the tar out of them. Or begging someone for food or protection who ignores their needs and perhaps ridicules them for being weak and needy. Children are little. Young. Not heard. Not often believed. They are often isolated and alone. Who can they tell? Who can help them? And if they tell, what will happen to them and their family?

These children grow up, with complicated physical and emotional lives. And others, even adults, face hatred and rage or pain from those who they love and trust, and even strangers.

This Memorial Day, let us recognize that it’s a complicated day for many. There is going to be a Memorial Day event on Monday, May 27, at 7 p.m., City Park Shelter #7, so that people who are grieving and who have been hurt by those they grieve for, can be with others who understand and support them. Rev. Dr. Shauna Hyde, who is leading the event says this “Breaking Free and Letting Go Observance” will be a time to reflect on what we have lost and to make room for grief. It’s a necessary part of letting go — especially when what we grieved caused us harm.” For more information, check out the Breaking Free FaceBook page.

Wendy Tuck

Parkersburg

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