MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas — About 10 miles west of the North Freeway along FM 2854, Grace Edleston and her grandfather stood tall in a garden of makeshift headstones.
“My heart isn’t big enough to hold it,” said Ron McCracken of his granddaughter. “To understand that I passed this on to her is amazing.”
What he passed on was the 8-year-old’s desire to honor fallen veterans in a way not even her parents could have imagined.
“She’s curious about so much,” said her mother Melanie Edleston. “She has a lot of questions and thoughts. And just to go to this depth with her ideas and thoughts is pretty amazing.”
Grace’s idea was actually inspired by the fact that her elementary school opened up this holiday.
The district cancelled the day off to make up for snow days earlier this year, something Grace was not too pleased with.
So she asked her grandfather, himself of Vietnam War veteran, to tell her more about the importance of Memorial Day.
“These people gave their lives for the freedom we have,” said her grandfather. “And I think that’s the most important thing she picked up and learned about.”
And armed with that knowledge Grace searched the internet for images of the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
“I think she was just amazed with how many were there and how they put the flags out front,” said Laura McCracken, Grace’s grandmother. “And she said we’ve got flags. Why can’t we do something like that? And that’s where it all started.”
“It was with a magic marker,” said Grace. “And we cut them in half. And we cut them like a grave with a box cutter.”
She made 24 markers, including one that simply says thanks.
Now, she and her grandfather can pay their respects on the side of the road.