Growing up, I remember my mother preparing sandwiches, packing boxes with ribbons, fresh cut flowers and potted plants, while my father filled glass containers with water and loaded everything in the station wagon along with gloves, rakes, hedge clippers, and paper bags to collect grass and weed trimmings. This was a special day for our family, it was a day of remembrance, it was Memorial Day.
My parents loved to make an event out of the day, especially since the entire family would take part. We would generally spend hours commuting between cemeteries in Boise, including a visit to the Veterans Home and a stop at the Fort Boise Military Reserve cemetery in the foothills. Wow, that’s a story I’ll have to tell one day. We would spend a couple hours pulling weeds and trimming grass along the old iron fence surrounding the cemetery, and afterwards try and do as many graves as we could within that time. Was it fun? Heck no, but there’s something about those experiences that made it memorable for our family.
In the late 60’s, my older brother returned to Vietnam on his second tour of duty the week before Memorial Day. I remember my mother trying to show everyone that she was proud and strong, but little did they know about the sleepless nights that she endured. That particular Memorial Day was even harder for her to visit the gravesites, for she feared that one day she would be visiting the grave of her son. Thankfully though, and by the grace of God, my brother returned home safe two years later.
What do you remember?
Today, the Memorial Day weekend generally marks the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. It’s a time to celebrate the hot summer days with swimming, fishing, vacations, and of course, barbeques. To tell you the truth, it was the same feeling when I was younger. However, there did seem to be more traditional observance compared with today. There is some meaning to Memorial Day and certain traditions that many Americans simply choose to forget or even ignore. In a way, it’s kind of sad how some of the traditions end up fading away, and soon I’m afraid, many of the graves within the cemeteries will eventually be neglected and fade away as well.