Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day

In the past it was Decoration Day. I would take my Grandmother to Forestlawn cemetery in Burbank to decorate my Grandfather's grave. It was on the side of a steep hill (Papa always loved a view) and I had to precede Nonnie down and haul her up. We would sit in the grass while she trimmed the headstone, tossed out the old flowers, I fetched the water, and she shed some tears.

He never served in the military, but always wished that he could. During WW II, he was a volunteer with the Civilian Air Patrol in San Francisco. He did his shift spotting planes, identifying them, and phoning in the reports. Wherever he lived, he had a flagpole. He raised the flag in the morning, and brought the colors down at dusk.

Other Memorial Days

My family lived in a suburb of L.A. full of post-war families with lots of kids. Memorial Day was always on the 30th of May, be it mid-week or weekend. Schools were out; Dads burned meat on brick-built grills; and whoever had the pool hosted. THE RACE was on the radio. Everyone on the block had a small flag hanging from the eaves or porch post. Dad, why don't we fly the flag every day like Papa? Papa is special.

Used to see men with poppies at the store when we shopped for the burgers and dogs. I finally asked my parents about that, and the response was always something about dead soldiers and remembering their sacrifices. I was very young. I never played army with my friends; sacrifices always got in the way of having fun.

Now, most years, we gather what family is around, burn meat, and have a great time. We are lucky that no direct and recent ancestors were sacrificed in war. We all have heard war stories from those family members that served, and I guess that is why we call it memory day.

For another view of Memorial Day check out www.pdb.blog-city.com.

PDB is a fearless blogger and writer, and has the same last initial.



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