Tag Archives: Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

This Monday, May 25th, marks the U.S. holiday of Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor our veterans, especially those who have given their lives in service to their country.   This day also marks the “unofficial” start to summer, and gives many an excuse to gather with friends and family, picnic, have a day off from work, and just enjoy the weather and the day.

When I was growing up, much of Memorial weekend was spent travelling to family cemeteries and “decorating” graves with flowers, either plastic, fresh cut, or in pots.  (This weekend also marked the official “proper” date where it was acceptable to begin wearing white pants and shoes, though that little fashion rule has been greatly relaxed since!)

Of course, this year is a little different.  Many of the usual celebrations are cancelled this year, and many of the services honoring veterans; i.e. parades, speeches, ceremonial laying of flowers and flags; are being done as closed, recorded events that will be televised for the public later.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

While we are dealing with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still ways to honor our fallen veterans and have an enjoyable holiday.  We can still visit cemeteries, as long as we follow social distancing.  A number of communities are having virtual events where we can watch and participate.  Naturally, of course, we can still cookout, overeat, and play with sparklers and roast marshmallows in the comfort of our backyards.

My workplace, which has been open without stop during the current crisis, is closed for the day, and I may actually find time to put my feet up while the guys man the smoker.   When I started writing this, I had a berry cobbler in the oven, and spent much of yesterday prepping food, so it will be good to relax.  I’ve already begun pulling patriotic decorations out of their storage bins in the basement, and the house will be festive with red, white, and blue from now until after Independence Day. 

While things are a little different this year, I like to think we’re starting to get back to normal, or at least, the new normal.  While we cautiously wear masks whenever we go out now, at least we can go out and run errands, even visit a restaurant.  And this holiday gives us just a little bit more “normal” to celebrate, and enjoy.

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Amy

In Memoriam

Memorial Day......
This cemetary has been in use for perhaps generations.  Photo by Astrid Photography. on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

One of my earliest reminisces of this May holiday, before I even understood its real meaning, is of riding in the back of a pickup truck with my family down winding country roads to reach the old family cemeteries.   Once there, we would disembark and make our way up a hilly path, to a fenced-in area of carefully tended lawn bordered by shady trees.  Laden with plastic tulips and daisies, we would seek the markers for ancestors whose names I only recognized from stories, and place our bounty in careful clusters and rows.

This is one way my family honored those who had gone before, ancestors whose faces were etched in the memories of the older generation, and introduced to the children by way of books and boxes of old sepia-toned photos.  My parents had relatives who had never come home from war, and others who didn’t survive childhood.  There were aunts, uncles, siblings, and generations of grandparents, grouped in couples and families; bound forever to memory by icons of marble and metal, of small flags and larger angels, of loving epitaphs and last words.

Of course, there are plenty of other ways to honor the dead.  Each culture across the globe has developed its own customs of remembrance; for instance, the Day of the Dead celebrated by families of Mexico and the southwestern part of the United States, and All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day, Catholic holidays celebrated in many countries.

There are books and television channels devoted to history and software that traces genealogies as far back as written records exist.  What all of these have in common is that they are a way to remember our roots, and those who have given their lives for us, that we may continue to live and hopefully honor them in the paths we choose.

Memorial Day
Today is a day to honor our veterans, and all those who have gone before.  Photo by CraigInDaVille on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Today is the official Memorial Day celebrated in the United States.  Today, especially, we celebrate the lives of our family members who are no longer with us, and the veterans who gave their lives in service to our nation.  Today we honor their sacrifices, their accomplishments, and their legacy.  However and whenever you choose to honor, celebrate, and mourn lost family and our national heroes, let today be a day of commemoration, and celebration.

Happy Memorial Day!

Amy