Remembrance Day

Today is a holiday in the US—Memorial Day.

When I was small, my great-grandmother called it Decoration Day. I thought it was about decorating the graves of family. It was always May 30.

From the time I was about 10 until I was 17, May 30 meant a small parade in my village of 1,000. We would march either as a Scout or in the high school marching band from the water tower where there would be speeches and prayers to the cemetery on the outskirts of town. There we would lay flowers (I suppose provided by the American Legion chapter) on the graves of military veterans.

Then we would travel 5 or 6 miles to an even smaller village and repeat the cemetery observance.

The scouts would lay flowers on the grave. The band would play a couple of Sousa marches. The lead trumpeter would play Taps.

Scenes probably repeated everywhere in the country. I don’t know about the South, since the origin of the day was to recognize those who “fought against the rebellion” also known as the Civil War. But the meaning spread to include veterans of all American wars.

Since 1971, the day is always the 4th Monday of May. Making it a 3-day weekend made it easier to plan the Indianapolis 500 auto race or the 3-day soccer tournament I worked at for 30 years.

I personally shun nostalgia and don’t spend much time in remembrance. But it’s good to recall once in a while from wherever you are.

Honoring those who gave their life for a greater cause is a good thing.

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