Mr. B is my Monday client every other week. When I arrive at 9, he is waiting with a cup of coffee for both of us and we have a chinwag for at least 1/2 hour…most times it’s close to an hour. I always know when he hasn’t had any company over the weekend cause then he really needs to talk.
On Friday I called him to find out about Monday…it being Memorial day. The response, “Are you coming? Good. I’ll have the coffee ready! The parade starts at 9, so try to get here a little earlier.”
There was no traffic whatsoever this morning…I have never gotten there in so short a period of time. He and Fred(his daughter’s black cocker spaniel) were sitting outside on the porch when I arrived. “It’s almost ready to start…have a seat.” First was a car with veterans from several wars, then the local High School majorettes, the baton twirlers, and the cheerleaders. The High School band followed(and were quite good, I might add). A car with the mayor was followed by several groups of Little League. A local brass band(about 10 in that). Two fire trucks. And anyone who felt like carrying flags and walking in the parade. Done. All of five minutes. “That was a nice one this year,” Mr. B remarked. “Let’s now go in for our coffee.”
I remember when I was in Elementary School. It was mandatory that we would meet at the school(preferably with a bouquet of flowers of some sort). All of the classes would walk in line, two by two, behind their teacher up to the local cemetery. There we would listen to the taps, listen to a small speech, say the pledge of allegiance, sing the national anthem and proceed to put flags and flowers down on the graves. Get in line again, walk behind our teachers two by two back to the school. There we would have a recess and then dismissed to go home.
Back then, we still had school in June. Now, in my area, the kids are already finished school and on vacation. Graduation is over. For us, it was a meaningful holiday. It was still close to World War II. Our parents and grandparents had lived through it(and some of our siblings). Heroic acts that they didn’t talk about and we didn’t find out about until after they had passed. They were quiet because during the war they had to be…opening their mouths could mean someone might die.
I lived in a neighborhood where many Jewish people lived and went to basically a Jewish school…we knew people who had been in concentration camps and who had tattoos of numbers on their arms. We were not allowed to forget the sacrifices that were made and the pain that was suffered.
Memorial Day was a holy holiday. Not just a day off. A day of remembrance, of bestowing honor to everyone responsible for our freedom. Remembering what did happen and making a promise that it won’t happen again.
til next time…Eva