This Memorial Day weekend, most of us will spend time remembering loved ones or simply relaxing with friends and family. As I reflected on the holiday, I noticed a copy of Kenneth I. Helphand’s Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime near my desk. After reading a few chapters, I was reminded of why it’s such a wonderful day of reverence for those who have served in the Armed Forces.
In the book, Helphand explores the idea of "defiant gardens"--basically wartime gardens created to help alleviate the severities soldiers faced. The book details the harsh living conditions soldiers endured during some of the most brutal events in history and shows how these gardens were a source of hope and a representation of the beauty that exists in the world.
On Memorial Day many people will reflect on cherished memories with family members and friends they've lost. We at TU Press want to remind those who have suffered the loss of a loved one through military service to stay hopeful. Through all of the darkness in this world, there is a lot of beauty that surrounds us. Just as these defiant gardens signify soldiers' optimism in extreme conditions, this day should represent joyful memories as well solemn ones, an acknowledgment of both the sacrifices and the light.