I've been reminiscing about the Hawk family reunion recently. It was so wonderful to see all of Brian's cousins, aunts, uncles, first- and second-cousins once removed... It seemed they were all there!
I think my favorite part of the reunion was sitting around a table in Brian's aunt's dining room. (we had started outside, but rain drove us inside) Brian's dad, uncle and aunt were there, going through boxes of old black-and-white photos, trying to name all the people in those photos. And they would laugh as they remembered a certain moment in time or a funny memory they shared with that person.
But the greatest thing was that, around the table with them were relatives of all generations. Listening to the stories and asking who was who in the photos. The photos were passed around, and we all asked questions: How did you know them? What were they doing in this particular picture? What's that building in the background?
Family heritage and history is so important. It gives us self-identity; it gives us a glimpse of those who bore our name before us. Sometimes it explains a little about why we are the way we are! Sometimes it adds a side that you never knew to relatives that you thought you knew! But most of all, it links generations together and keeps the family ties strong.