Memorial Day weekend is a time of patriotism, grilling out, and sunshine (hopefully). I guess there are sillies out there who take the weekend to protest and tear down the troops, but we’ll just pretend they don’t exist. I send out the most beautiful, heartfelt thanks to our men and women serving this great nation. I also bow my head to honor those who have fallen. No matter how one feels about war, it is easy to remember and send big love to those who have lost family members and loved ones. Thank you for sharing them with the nation. They are not forgotten.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to experience a small snippet of what is called Decoration here in the South. Decoration Day was the original name for Memorial Day. Its roots of origin can be found in several places, but the South loves to lay claim to it. A group of ladies would go around laying flowers on the graves of the blue and grey before the end of the Civil War. They carried on the practice after the war ended. A hymn from the time period was sweetly titled, “Kneel Where Our Loves Are Sleeping” and was dedicated to these women. The practice has grown from decorating the graves of soldiers to remembering all loved ones lost.
Like everything else in the South, Decoration is taken seriously. No joke. Signs go up for Decoration flowers weeks in advance. They are elaborate, fancy, gaudy, and fantastic. Oh, and usually quite fake. Sunday morning we left for church about 30 minutes early and headed to the cemetery where Jon’s PawPaw, MawMaw, and Aunt Myra are laid to rest. He had put together a little bouquet of day lilies and wild flowers. A meager white milkglass bud vase held them lovingly together. The sweetest thing.
The cemetery was a mad house. Cars were backed up to the entrance. We had to park on the lawn near the main road. Jon said he wasn’t sure where the graves were, so he went to look while we roasted in the car. While we waited a gentleman pulled up in a white pickup. The truck was beat up, and he looked like he had combed his hair and put on his best chambray shirt. The man grabbed up three bunches of fake flowers. I told Jacob that I wondered what the story was behind those flowers. Jacob said “I don’t”. I told him they all had a story, and so did the people carrying them. I wondered what the story was for this man.
It took too long for Jon to find the graves, so when he came back we had to go on to church. Jon said he had to call his stepmom to find out where the graves were. People were everywhere. Garbage cans mounded over with flowers. Jon seemed to think that a lot of people got dressed up for Decoration and didn’t even go on to church. I couldn’t believe that, but weirder things have been true.