Memorial Day is an interesting American holiday. It’s a day where we honor the brave men and women who have died for our country. While a somber reason, people all over America traditionally choose to celebrate the lives of those they’ve lost by spending Memorial Day with friends and family. (Also, barbecues. There’s a lot of barbecues.) The strange mix of grieving for those we’ve lost and celebrating the life of each person immediately made me think of the movie Up.
I distinctly remember the first time I watched Up. My 6th grade choir teacher was sick for the day and a substitute popped in his DVD copy of Up. I had never seen it before, so I didn’t know that my heart was about to be completely torn apart within the first five minutes. I remember sitting on a rickety old chair and trying (and failing) not to cry, because the boy I had a crush on was sitting two rows behind me. But I couldn’t help it.
The first few minutes of Up are heartbreaking. We watch two children fall in love, grow up, and share their lives together. Then Ellie gets sick. Even though Carl and Ellie weren’t able to do everything they planned on doing together, they still had a fantastic adventure together. However, Carl doesn’t fully realize Ellie's love for their extraordinary, ordinary adventures together until the very end of the movie.
Carl’s overwhelming grief nearly consumes him, until he is saved by Rusell and Doug. Rusell and Doug help Carl learn how to celebrate life while still holding Ellie in his memory. This is what I think Memorial Day is really about. It’s about holding those we’ve lost close to our hearts and choosing to continue to celebrate life. Because they would want us to celebrate life.
So if you are missing somebody that you have lost, watch Up this Memorial Day. It might make you cry, but it will also remind you how wonderful life is, and to continue to celebrate with those near and dear to you.
Adventure is out there!