Good morning or whatever part of the day is for you. Today is Monday May 25, 2015, Memorial Day. The temperature is 59.3°F and the humidity is 84% at 4:13 a.m. PST (-8 GMT). Weather Underground shows sustained winds at 0.7 with gusts of 2.2 mph. It was mostly cloudy when I stuck my head with patches of blue but no stars. Weather Underground is predicting a 0% chance of precipitation and a high of 74° today.
Today is the Memorial Day in the U.S., that is, a day set aside to commemorate the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in the service of the country. It grew out of a holiday designed as part of reconciliation after the Civil War which remains to this day the war which caused the greatest number of casualties in U.S. history.
I thought I’d repost something I wrote at Bubblews last year, slightly rewritten:
Today we observe Memorial Day in the United States, a day set aside to commemorate those who have lost their lives in service to the country and to honor active and retired military members. It goes back to the ceremonies commemorating those fallen in the Civil War, which were then called “Decoration Day.” It’s believed the end of May was chosen because flowers used to decorate the graves would be in bloom in all parts of the country.
Decoration Day was significant because it was nation-wide and the graves of soldiers from both sides were honored. After the First World War, Decoration Day was expanded to honor those who had died in all wars. Later in the century, the name was changed to “Memorial Day,” and the meaning expanded again to honor all military.
When my brother and I were small, our grandmother was in the habit of saying things in front of us that perhaps she shouldn’t have. These were never malicious things, but they were private things about other people that might be embarrassing to them. I look back on them now with fond amusement and wish she were here so I could tease her about them.
Between the two world wars, she worked as a nurse. She got along with almost everyone, she told me, but there were some people whom she couldn’t please if she’d stood on her head. In my child’s mind, I tried to imagine this large lady wearing a nurse’s uniform and standing on her head.
One day when I was perhaps 7, she pointed to a picture hanging on the wall of a young man in uniform. I don’t remember what he looked like or what uniform he wore, but judging by everyone’s age, he must have served in World War 2.
“That’s my little brother,” she said. “He went to war and never came back.”
It was the only time I can recall that she ever mentioned her brother. I remember her sisters who were named after gemstones.
“What happened?” I asked.
On the other side of my family, my mother’s father was the oldest of eight children. He, like his youngest brother, was drafted into World War 2. Unlike the youngest brother, he made it home. After the war, there were TV programs featuring people who were looking for their families. My mother once said her father watched the shows religiously, just knowing he would find his little brother. He never did. He himself died in the mid-1950s following the removal of a lung for cancer.
The two young men, great-uncles from two sides of my family, never met. It was a big war. Had they met, though, they would have been enemies. And that would have been all the sadder.
Thanks for reading. Hope you and yours are all well and happy. Hope the day brings you good things.
1. First, spend an hour with Siegfried
2. Goal of eight Examiner reviews before June 2. Four down, four to go. Finish that half review today.
3. Review sci-fi story.
©2015 Denise Longrie
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/cemetery-graveyard-memorial-markers-269668/ by jimp200962