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[photo]   Photo: The Sweetest Smell
Gloria Plunkett, Originally seen on A Picture's Worth
My husband and I spend Memorial Day weekend like most others, enjoying the extra day off of work. On one of the three days, he drives me along the coast, through our local beach cities so I can take pictures and so we can relax and enjoy the sunny weather and beautiful scenery that is typical of Southern California.

We decided to take our drive on Monday, Memorial Day. I was amazed at all the things going on in the area. A large festival attracted many crowds of different people. Families, couples, surfers, sun worshipers, and tourists spilled onto the streets past the stores, restaurants, and coffee shops. Girls in bikinis, boys toting surfboards, couples holding hands as they walked down to the beach, families walking out of restaurants sharing hugs and smiles. Friends hanging out at the coffee shop catching up on old memories. Bikers and skaters rolling alongside traffic.

I leaned out of my car window to get a clear view of all that was around me. I took a deep breath as the smell of clean ocean air filled the car. As we drove past restaurants, my nose was treated to many different smells. My favorite was driving past the Ice Cream Shop. Even from the street I could practically taste the ice cream and sugar cones.

As the cool ocean breeze blew past my face and through my hair, I noticed amidst all of the action of the local crowds the large number of American flags that hung from flagpoles, windows, doors, and balconies of stores and homes. It was such a good feeling to know that so many people hadn't forgotten that Memorial Day wasn't just another holiday to get us out of work. It is a day of remembrance and a chance to honor all of those who have served our country and who have given their lives to ensure that our country remains free.

As I drove past this house, the wind picked up, slightly curling the corner of the flag as if to wave it at me and remind me of what it represents. I realized at that moment how fortunate we really are. We are lucky enough to have ‘holidays’ off from work. To have our choice of any delicious foods we’d like to eat. To be able to drive whenever and wherever we please. To walk along the beaches and enjoy the wonderful sun. To share these carefree moments with friends and family.

I took one last deep breath as we turned the last corner to head back home, and I realized that sweet smell I was breathing in wasn't the ocean air or even the ice cream shop. It was the smell of freedom.

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