The day was cloudy,extremely windy and not very warm..
Given the day was Memorial Day, I had forgone the usual shopping extravaganzas being touted as the Next best SALE by all forms of media..
instead.. remembering the meaning of Memorial Day was that of honoring those who had died in the line of duty for our country,I chose instead to visit nearby Fairmount Cemetery.
I was not alone.
Many families had come to visit their loved ones.
Some were Picnicking..
others were solemnly freshening the graves.
Heading to the Military section..I found various monuments honoring our military fallen.
my thoughts would later return while editing the photos..
My thoughts are many..as a Southerner, where in the month of May, this tradition was called Decoration Day. Families would meet at the cemetery prepared to clean the grave, leave fresh flowers and have lunch together. As a child the day was one of festivity, of seeing again all much loved,the far flung cousins and aunties /uncles.
Later in high school history class, the date would come to have more meaning as origin was more deeply explained..
"Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war)."
Finally as an adult,married to a career Navy man..living abroad at a time when Americans were not the most favored..watching as he and his fellow squadron members were flying off at dawn to do their duty at preserving freedom for us all..watching and waiting for word their mission had been accomplished..and were safely returning home..
Even later, as a spouse,stationed at the Naval War College in Newport Rhode Island..meeting then Secretary of the Navy John Lehman serving during the Reagan Administration..as well as many of the ex- POW's and their spouses and learning firsthand the price they paid while serving and protecting their country..
Now as a senior American, remarried to a former Navy Flight Surgeon, I look back ..
remembering those days of doing my part, by doing my very best keeping the home-fires burning , maintaining and supporting ..when my heart knew I was an unpaid goodwill ambassador wherever I went.. always trying to reverse the image of the Ugly American..
Sadly, with History not being taught as frequently in the curriculum..along with the National Holiday Act of 1971 being passed.. making this yet another "three day weekend" to be spent BBQing..or Beaching...or Shopping.. the true meaning has almost been forgotten...
With a long list of family members who honorably served their country during war and peace, through Draft or as a member of the present day all VOLUNTEER military, how could I ever forget? It is ingrained in my very being!
But for me having lived and breathed the active duty military life, picking up moving wherever, whenever directed for as long or short the need..I for one shall never forget that freedom is not free..
Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Freedom.. ..
Mellow Yellow Monday