Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial [Decoration] Day


Today is Memorial Day. The media was full of the usual militaristic platitudes. As I was going down the elevator this morning one of the older residents got in with a younger man who was probably a nephew, I heard the older man say as they were entering "we called it decoration day."

Observing the usual decorum [which I might not do if it were someone I wanted to get into a conversation with but I'm happy ignoring this guy] I didn't say what I thought which was "that's what we called it too." When I was small this was the day we drove to the cemetery in Dry Ridge, Kentucky where my father's parents and four brothers who died young [too young for the military] had been buried. If the peonies had come into bloom we took a bunch with us. The cemetery was beside a small church. My parents took clippers and cut the grass around the graves and "decorated" them with the peonies, or maybe with whatever was blooming. After some years, I suppose when the deaths had become older memories, we stopped going.

We were not a family that told stories. I know Uncle Shorty died in his twenties of TB, the three who died younger I suppose died in a flu epidemic but I don't really know. My father's parents couldn't have been over 60 when they died, both before I started grade school. [Dad was second oldest in the family of seven] I don't think they died in accidents, it must have been disease. I suppose their graves are never "decorated" anymore. I'm sure my own parents graves which are quite close to where my brother lives are not "decorated." It has become a meaningless holiday for all of us. The flowers above were at the Conservatory garden, they were familiar although I don't know their name either. I'm limited to roses, lilies, tulips, daisies and other truly common flowers.

2 comments :

Sue Reno said...

These flowers are from a weigela. I do love a good flower id challenge! Thanks for stopping by my website.

God's Rock Angel said...

I watched a tv documentary on Sunday night about Russian and on Victory Day - lots of families go and have like a picnic at their families graves as a thank you to those who served to bring peace to Russia.

It was kinda wierd to me but then again that is their traditions just like I'm sure some things we do here in the UK are wierd to them.

I love the flowers they are very pretty!