Ah, the memories of Memorial Day when it really meant something. Little flags on vets' graves, the entire family raiding flowering bushes and iris beds to make bouquets. Bending coat hangers to hold the coffee cans holding flowers upright.
Our family were buried all over Hell's Half Acre (that means about three counties) and making the rounds to all the dear departed took the better part of the day.
Children were severely reprimanded for walking anywhere near the "buried" part of a grave, but my uncle's annoying Chihuaha was never punished for relieving himself on a headstone. The cousins' club would always slip him extra water to see just which "gone beyond" family member would receive Tippy's "blessing." We were a disrespectful bunch.
Even all these years later, the SOUND of the Indy 500 puts me back in a car trolling from one cemetery to another. "Next, we will go to Aunt Hazel."
These days, I just write the check to have the graveside urn filled by a florist 1300 miles away at the grave of my dad, a well-decorated WWII vet. Sometimes I wish he were buried in my back yard so I could "see" him regularly. I'd also like to see my very funny Uncle Lee, WWI , who would occasionally wear his gas mask to family events.
It's sad that my kids never knew the silly fun of Memorial Day even though we KNEW that there was more to it than Tippy and his ... well. At least we were paying calls on the dead and getting some sense of history, not just hanging around in the backyard pool.
My husband's bio-father is at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. What there is left of him, if anything. His adoptive father is at Arlington. WWII for dad #1 and WWII and Korea for Dad #2.
Yep. We do think about them.
I just took down a framed certificate from my office wall, signed by Harry S. Truman.
"In grateful memory of Boyd W. Stauffer who died in the service of his country at sea, Asiatic Area, 17 September 1945.
He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live, and grow, and increase its blessings.
Freedom lives, and though it, he lives -- in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men."