Thursday, June 3, 2010

No "Me" in Memorial Day

Oh, little Podunk Midwestern towns...we do love our parades, don't we?

Homecoming, Harvest Days, Memorial Day...damn hell, you say the girls' basketball team won sectionals? Wellll, let's have a parade!

All in all, it does sound kind of silly, doesn't it? Lights and sirens, firetrucks and floats - people setting up their folding lawn chairs along the parade route an hour ahead of time (you can't ever be TOO early to get a good candy catchin' seat.)

Is it all a waste of time? Some may think so.

"Another parade?"

"The streets are blocked off AGAIN?"

"We don't have time to sit and watch all of this. It's the same thing...over...and over..."

It's easy to get caught up in; the rush-rush of everyday life. No time for anything. at. all.

But then, Monday morning came. Memorial Day. A chance to look at these faces.

I stood there on that small town corner of the Courthouse square. Summer haze hung over the clock bell tower. A tuning squeal of a young trumpet player startled the birds. Tinkling of uniform medals and clicking of boots on the old brick roads reminded me of why I was there.

Time had stopped. I swear it did.

I almost cried.

Not because I had other things to do. Not because it was hot and humid and sticky and all arm pitty. I choked back the tears for I was watching a small piece of Americana whither away right before my eyes.

Where was everyone?

Sure, a handful of people were around mostly consisting of the older generation (or the "grey hairs" as they are lovingly referred to.) Of course, all of the organizations were there with their memorial wreaths: VFW, Masonic Lodge, Churches, Legions, Auxiliaries - they were all.there. Where was my generation? Where were their children? No sounds of running or giggling were heard this morning. Why is that? Has it just become another day off of work? Another day to spend grilling out, doing gardening or watching television? Have we forgotten WHY we are able to laze around on this special day?

I hope not.

Our parade started at the Courthouse and ended up at Crown Hill Cemetery. Wreaths were laid, songs were sung, speeches were made (however downhill they may have gone) and people remembered. Freedom. People have, and are, giving our lives for our freedom. Gives a whole new meaning to the word "FREE", doesn't it? Though, in one man's speech, he said, "As Americans, we have the responsibility to not abuse our freedoms." If we all could only keep that in mind.

(And then... an older gentleman passed out. Yup. Right there in the cemetery, hitting his back on a tombstone. Good thing the fire department was still around from the parade. He's okay, by the way. It's just not a ceremony without SOMEthing happening, right? Oh, and we were all being attacked by beetles the whole time. It's hard to be reverent when you are constantly swatting and picking bugs out of your hair.)

If you have never been to a local ceremony, such as this, please make it a point to attend next year. Bring your kids. Go as a family and remember. When the 21 gun salute startles you, stop and remember. When taps is played atop the hill at the cemetery, stop and remember.

Giving up a few hours of my morning to remember, is such a small sacrifice...because there is no "Me" in Memorial Day.

In memory of Officer Christopher Yonkers and Mr. Dale Snearly.
We miss and love you - thank you for your service.

1 comment:

Our happy crazy home said...

I couldn't find a local memorial day parade. :-( (this is our first year living here.)

And I think all small towns are like that with parades, it's not just in the midwest. The town I grew up in Washington is the same way. :-)