Monday, May 27, 2013
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!
Happy Memorial Day everybody! This year Memorial Day has a little bit deeper meaning for me with my son being in the military and having nearly been killed over a year ago while in Afghanistan. I notice I'm tearing up looking at pictures of military cemeteries and watching celebrations this year. The thankfulness that I have that my son isn't in one of those graves cannot be expressed, yet I feel for all the mother's who have lost a military son or daughter. My indebtedness to my military comrades goes deep.
Growing up I have vivid memories of my grandmother and aunt taking me with them to visit relatives graves all over Indiana to put flowers on their headstones. These pilgrimages were events for me as we typically would load up the car with all the flowers, water, and shovels and drive all over to the different cemeteries. Grandma would give me a name to look for and tell me approximately where she thought the stone was and I had to go scout for it. Once I found it we would then dig and plant the flowers and give it a good drink of water before leaving. We'd either stop for lunch somewhere, which was a big event for me back then since we rarely ate out, or we would take a picnic lunch with and eat at one of the cemeteries. I remember several had picnic tables scattered through the cemeteries, typically under large trees, for this purpose. In some ways I think these yearly pilgrimages are why I've never had bad emotions or memories associated with cemeteries. I find them fascinating and love to look at all the old headstones. Living in other states as an adult I was unable to continue helping with our family plots and none of my children have had the experience. I hope one of these summers I can get back and have my aunt take me around to all the graves so I know where they all are. Memorial Day weekend was celebrated with parades that our bands marched in and backyard barbecues with the family.
One observation I can make is that while living in Metro Detroit area is that the pet cemetery that I worked at probably had more decorated grave sites then the local human cemeteries. Sad, but my true opinion. There was one cemetery that put small flags on each grave Memorial Day weekend but they weren't decorated by family or friends with flowers like I remember my family doing. The pet graves frequently had benches added so owners could come visit, sometimes decorative fences surrounding the grave, and frequently flowers or grave blankets on the sites. Thinking about it, I can't help wonder if the possible shift is due to the breakdown of families and how much closer people to their pets then their own relatives. By the time we moved from Michigan it was almost like Memorial Day was an inconvenience to people getting on with their lives. The soldiers I worked with enjoyed it because they typically received a 4 day weekend holiday.
This being our first one in North Dakota has been uneventful. Fortunately I had the day off. Matt and I grilled hot dogs and I made my tasty baked beans for lunch. We used my indoor grill since it's looking like rain again. I finished up a book and took a nap. For supper I'm planning on sticky chicken and potato salad. I haven't been reading the paper online so I'm not sure if they had a parade or not. Matt's friend that he's pit crew for was racing out of the area and Matt isn't traveling with him so we didn't have a car race either. The neat thing I have seen is how many people have been buying plants, fake flowers, and other items to put on grave sites this weekend. One of the neat things I saw them purchasing were solar powered angels and crosses to put by the graves. Several people have stated that they were not spending as much this year on items since there's been a rash of thefts at the cemetery and they'd be lucky if the items they left were there the next day. I can't imagine what type of person feels stealing from a grave site is acceptable. One can only hope Karma catches up with them for their crimes.
Overall this Memorial Day has been a nice relaxing day. It has restored my faith that people still put an importance on family that has pasted away.