Monday, May 28, 2007
As a girl growing up in the flatland, I went with my family to the cemetery where we decorated the graves of departed relatives. My sister and I would go to the nearby spigot to get the water while my mother and aunts would plant the flowers. There were many families in the cemetery doing the same thing. As a college student I went with my aunt to find the grave of a several greats grandmother. I planted daisies so they would come up every year, knowing I would not be back to keep it up. Some of the graves of my relatives are on private land that no longer belongs to us in towns that no longer exist. Whenever I pass small cemeteries along the side of the road or in abandoned fields, I think of all of those lives forgotten. Many graves will go undecorated this day. Living far from the flatland, I have no graves to decorate.
Wondering if I would find anyone, I went to a very large cemetery on the other side of the mountain. At first glance, I saw no one as I drove through the peaceful shady lanes. The folks from the American Legion had been out and many graves sported fluttering flags. As I walked among the flags, I saw they were on stones whose occupants fought in all of the wars from revolutionary through Korea. I did not walk through the new section.
I found many people watering their plantings in the blazing heat of the sunny newer section. But, all of the folks I saw today were elderly. No children, no young people. That is a shame. Memorial Day is more than a 3-day weekend and the beginning of summer.
I was intrigued by some of the decorations. In addition to flowers, there were balloons, figurines, wind chimes and whirligigs. This birthday balloon, I found particularly sad.
In keeping with the spirit of the founding of Memorial Day, I give you a gravestone of a fallen Civil War soldier-21 years old.
While Memorial Day is for fallen soldiers, I think it is also for all of those lost to us.