Friday's Weekend Column
Memorial Day Weekend

by James Glaser
May 23, 2003

"Great weekend ahead," says the weatherman. Today we set up everything for our quilt show and tomorrow we will be hanging them for display. The town is already crowded with people from the cities that have come home to see mom and dad or Grandpa and grandma.

Some flowers are just starting to bloom and people who planted early, still have sheets near the garden just in case they have to cover it, to protect it from frost. Many will plant their gardens this weekend with the help of family from the cities. Everyone will have the barbecue going and as you walk down the road you will smell meat cooking, picnic tables will be covered with bright tablecloths, and little kids will be running around all over.

Children that come up here, have friendships with other children that they only see on summer holidays up north. As the years go by, they grow up together, and some move here as adults, already knowing everyone on the road.

Saturday morning I will go out to the Ardenhurst Cemetery, put a flag on the pole, and place a small flag at the grave of each Veteran buried there. I do it early and kind of talk to all of those vets. Now that I have been doing this for several years, I knew many of those buried there and served as Honor Guard at their funeral. It is kind of a sad nice time.

Memorial Day weekend is always filled with family and friends up here, but the actual Memorial Day is a sad one. It is the day we say "we miss you." It is the day we really know we are mortal and our time will come too. It is a day when we think about what might have been.

Every year Memorial Day is hard on me. Five times I have to listen to "Taps," once at each cemetery our VFW Post has a ceremony at. The sound of taps, no matter how many times I hear it, brings a wave of emotion over me.

At each service the names of the veterans that are buried at that particular cemetery are spoken, the rifle salute is given, and then "taps" are played. Also each year we pick a different vet and a wreath is laid on his or her grave.

Veterans from my past always come to mind, my father, his brothers, and his friends. I also think of men from when I was in Vietnam, some I knew and others were just a short ceremony with the sounds of distant artillery, some not so distant, where we would have the upside down rifle with its bayonet buried in the ground, with their helmet on the rifle. A fast service as one did not want to dwell on death in a war zone.

When you come home from a war it takes a few years before you are willing to let thoughts of those that died come out, you can't stop it and Memorial Day is the day that our nation has set aside for that purpose.

Some years I wish I could just go away and miss our Honor Guard Ceremony. It wouldn't work though as all those thoughts would still be with me.

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