Memorial Day is more than just a day off

“Memorial Day marks the start of summer, graduation ceremonies, summer vacations, more golf and Sunday drives in the country. We should all take a moment to remember why we got the day off.”

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Someone asked me to help put flags out at the cemetery last week. I had never been asked before, but Joe must have thought I had more time to volunteer since I semi-retired. I said yes. It is true that lately I have found myself sitting in my office wondering how I’m going to fill my week. It has gotten to the point where I’m starting to clean and reorganize the office. My father died over a year ago and I’m just now starting to clear out his office. I’m not sure if I will ever get rid of all of the filing cabinets full of newspaper clippings, pictures and keepsakes, but there are lots of books and correspondence that I can pass on to my sister, Lois. The cemetery staff was well organized with a list of veterans’ names, war and service listed. Maps listing veterans’ grave locations was a big help, and American flags were already counted out for each cemetery section. What surprised me was a number of Civil War veterans, mixed in with a few from the Spanish American War.   Sheila directed us to a section next to the office to place the flags and as I was looking at each name, I realized that I know a lot of the veterans on the list. While looking for the veterans’ graves I realized that I know most of the people in this section of the cemetery. Some were friends, schoolmates, acquaintances and parents. I was thinking that I know more people in the cemetery than I know living in town. As we entered an older section of the cemetery I recognized the family names but not the people. This is where the Civil War veterans were buried. They all got American flags and I wondered what the confederate soldiers were thinking as we placed a 50 star flag next to their headstones. I’m not sure if I’ll be invited back next year to help out, but putting out the flags added to my Memorial Day experience. I was in Ripon on Sunday and noticed that their cemetery also had small flags flying throughout their headstones, along with rows of larger flags at the entrance. Makes you slow down and take off your hat. Memorial Day marks the start of summer, graduation ceremonies, summer vacations, more golf and Sunday drives in the country. We should all take a moment to remember why we got the day off. Have a good week.]]>

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