Monday, May 25, 2009

On Memorial Day 2009:

Here in the USA it is Memorial Day. A day to honor the soldiers of our country who have died. There will be parades, barbeques, and visiting of cemeteries. Flags will fly over each fallen soldiers grave world wide and in the yards of homes in America. We remember.

As a child it was a day of fun. People were home, having the off work, and stores were closed in respected for the dead. We got up early, food was prepared and clothing was readied in red, white and blue. We each were given a flag to wave as we watched the parade of soldiers from town in their crisp uniforms and the high school marching band go by. Neighbors would catch up on local news in the crowd on the curbside as they held children high to see over the heads of the people in front.

We followed the parade and the crowd that followed it to the end. And it always ended in the cemetery by my house. My cemetery. Children fidgeted in the now quiet of the early afternoon as grownups listened to the speeches in the sun. The ending of it all was the 21 gun salute. Seven soldiers shot off their guns three times in a row while children covered their ears. Taps was played. Everyone dried their eyes and we went home.

We would line up our little hand held flags in the flower garden that ringed the yard at grandmas house. We always went to my grandmothers house to spend the rest of the day for the picnics or barbeques that followed. There were games for the kids to keep them busy and away from the food at the fire and the cook. Later there would be roasted marshmallows and burning cattails/punks to keep the bugs away.

Family, fun and cemeteries. I couldn’t wish for more as a kid.

When I was older I came to realize at what cost. The lives of the young people cut short for our freedoms and values. The lives of the living wrought with memories of the wars they lived through.

Here today, the parade was yesterday in the nearest city. It was fire crackers I heard instead of gun salutes. The pomp and circumstance of honor and respect I grew up with is missing, or at least bent, in favor of deep discount sales at retail stores and backyard beer parties.

Mountain Man served in the war in Viet Nam. We fly a flag in the yard and over his fathers grave for his service in the World War II. We don’t forget what this day is really for. We take a moment to honor the fallen who served our country at home and stay away from the shopping mall.


Mouse said...

Well said.

Judith said...

Good essay.

We didn't have a parade in my little town (pop. 400), but we all gathered at the cemetery. My dad would play Taps on a bugle or horn or something.

Please pass on to your husband my thanks for his service.