Memorial Day

Last Monday was Memorial Day, a day devoted to honoring old soldiers living and dead, and to the first cookouts of summer, and to remembering lost relatives. We didn’t have time for a cookout, but my husband and I spent the day traveling most of the width of Pennsylvania to leave flowers on family graves.

Some of the cemeteries we visited are relatively new, with unused space, and still in active use. Then there are the old ones where our relatives were some of the last to be added. My father’s parents lie at the edge of their graveyard, just before it tumbles downhill in a slope too steep to walk on. And not far up the hill from them, I noticed this grave marked by a new flag.

GARTombstoneVeteransDay2014One hundred fifty
Years, almost, since you last fought.
We still remember.

On Memorial Day, flags mark the graves of soldiers; veterans’ organizations see to that. But the stone looked old, very old. Sure enough, the man below it has been gone for ninety years, since my mother was a baby (and how shocked his family must have been to lose him on Christmas!) But long before that, young Mr. Neff was a soldier in the Grand Army of the Republic; he fought to keep this country in one piece for four long bloody years of civil war.

GARStarExtremeCloseupVeteransDay2014It’s been a century and a half, but he’s still honored.

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4 responses to “Memorial Day

  1. What a lovely glimpse and a nice way of paying tribute to the fallen. Well done Sharon.

  2. We do not have Memorial day in the UK, but in November we have Remembrance day, but for the most part most people just forget. But i have 7 members of my ancestry that have lost their lives in both Great Wars and we should never forget.

    • It’s a shame that people forget. I have to admit that a lot of people here devote Memorial Day weekend – Memorial Day is always on a Monday – to starting their summer with a picnic or a trip to the shore, but pretty much every town has a Memorial Day parade, generally featuring the local high school band, veterans of various ages, and a few speeches at the end. (This works best in a smallish town. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure what big cities do, even though I’ve lived just across the river from Philadelphia all these years.)

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