Saturday, May 22, 2010

Memorial Day

Today as the wind is blowing , I have decided that I don't want to be out mowing when is as blowing a gale of 30mph right on the ground. I guess that I will reminisce. Memorial Day is approaching and this year it will be celebrated on May 31 which is the last Monday of May. At one time, Memorial day was traditionally celebrated on May 30th, regardless what day of the week it fell on. A Monday gives the work force an extra day to go to the lake, or whatever it is that they do. I have found that most people don't go to the cemeteries on that day.

Memorial Day was traditionally observed to honor the dead servicemen of all wars. At sometime, it was decided to honor all dead, and time was spent decorating graves around the country. I imagine it was observed in that matter more in the rural areas than the cities.

Today, elaborate wreaths, and silk flower arrangements are purchased and placed on graves. When I was a child, things were much different. There may have been some wreaths to purchase, but I mostly remember buying a poppy made of crepe paper from the local American Legion and proudly wearing it pinned to my dress for the day.

Mom, my grandmothers and Aunts, made all of the flowers that were placed on loved ones graves. The flowers that they made were so beautiful. My mom could make the prettiest roses out of crepe paper. She also made lovely hyacinths, sweetpeas, and carnations. When the flowers were finished, we would dip them in melted wax to help them stay pretty for a longer period of time. When we had all of the flowers that we needed, we would cut cedar branches and form a wreath or swag out of them and attach the flowers. I thought they were beautiful. I am not sure when we started buying everything. Perhaps it took less time and looked a little better.

Memorial Day was spent visiting with neighbors and friends from far away who had came home to honor passed family members. There was often a program and a military salute. We dressed up for this occasion. It was a special day. Grandma would walk around and comment on names on the headstones that she knew. She knew them all as she had homesteaded with most of them. We would have company for lunch, it was a day of memories.

Today, we hurry to decorate sometime in the days ahead so we can have the whole weekend to run around. We go in our jeans and hurry, hurry to get things done. We don't have time to walk around and remember. I imagine that this is a tradition that will soon pass. Not many younger people pay this tribute unless they have lost someone who is very close to them.

I hope this hasn't been a morbid post for you to read as I wanted to remember how it was. Our lives have gotten so fast paced and it is good to look back once in awhile. I still take my mother and mother-in-law on their rounds to the places where they want to decorate the final resting place of their loved ones. We do this to remember and cherish those times spent with them. I will carry on the tradition.


Dawn said...

I would love to know how to make flowers out of crepe paper! How pretty that sounds!

Andi said...

That sounds like a real holiday, not just a chance to get off work for the day!