Memorial Day


One of my grandfathers worked during World War II on an air plane factory in California.  My other grandfather was a medic, he was hit with shrapnel several times, served under General Dwight Eisenhower and received a purple heart.  Although we don’t know as many details, we know my husband’s grandfather served in the navy, and my husband’s uncle was killed in Vietnam.  When you think about it, there is someone who has served our nation in almost every family.  It’s amazing, and astounding to think of how many men and women have actively fought for our freedoms, and even died for it.  Today many families will have barbeques; they will celebrate pools being open, and barely give a thought to what Memorial Day stands for.  Graves of brave soldiers and dear loved ones will remain barren and untouched by any flowers.  My mom shared with me of what Memorial Day used to entail.  My mother grew up in a farming community in Southern Missouri.  Back then, Memorial Day was always on the 31st of the month.  She recalled that days before the 31st people would start gathering flowers or making handmade paper flowers to place on the graves and as far as she knows there were no fake or store bought flowers.  On the 31st, they would pack picnic lunches, and would head to the church for a service.  Afterwards, they would sit all over the church grounds eating their picnic lunches and visiting.  Apparently this was a very big occasion, almost like a multi-family reunion.  After eating they would walk through the graveyard, reading tombstones, remembering loved ones, and placing a flower arrangement on every grave. It was a very patriotic time and often families would travel to different graveyards decorating other family or friends graves.  Today’s Memorial Day is a mere shadow of what it once was.  Years ago our traditions were richer than they are today.  I encourage everyone to remember the real reason we celebrate Memorial Day today.  Decorate a plain grave, take time to be thankful for those who fought for our freedoms, and recall fond memories of friends and relatives now gone.

No comments: