Same job, different uniform.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day, One More Time

I am used to thinking of Memorial Day as a day of remembrance for fallen heroes, soldiers, men and women who died protecting our freedoms. But tonight I stopped by my local cemetery and realized that for some people it has nothing to do with soldiers or inherent freedoms. It is simply about the loss of a loved one.

There is a grave stone in this small cemetery, located on the far edge of the property, near the street, about 6 gravesites from the end of this last row. I found it on a walk one day when I first moved to town. It says, "Our Little Steve, August 24, 1966, February 14, 1977." Engraved near the top right corner is a horse's head; near the bottom left a football. The little boy was 10 when he died. If he had lived he would be only two years older than me - almost to the day, as my birthday is also in August.

Periodically, I check on Little Steve. From what I can tell he was well loved and is not forgotten. In August, I glance up at his grave as I drive by (it is located on a small rise of land in the last row of the cemetery on the west side) and see flowers in a vase. In December, perhaps a potted poinsettia.

Tonight I pulled up into the drive, near the the edge of the property and walked over to Steve's grave. There were no less than 6 floral tokens of affection on or surrounding his gravestone - potted, flowering plants; a professional arrangement of Daisys, carnations and irises; and one glass vase, inexpertly covered with tin foil and filled with now-wilted, fading pink roses that looked to be cut from someone's garden. This last was lying on its side. I picked it up and set it flat on the stone below the engraved football. Then I stood up and wondered, like I've wondered before, with tears on my face, who it is that leaves these gifts for a long dead little boy: parents, grandparents, siblings, friends? I'm guessing a mother at least. God bless her.

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Blogger elphaba said...

Thank you for sharing that. How touching, sweet and sad!
Although I think I do a pretty good job of memorializing my granny to Audrey (her namesake) and others I am encouraged by your post to visit her remains when I am visiting MN.
Makes you appreciate what you have when you stop to remember what you have lost. (A bit cliche, but true non the less)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mom used to take us out to visit Grandma's grave sometimes. It still gets to her, and I'm glad she did that.

To be honest, I always thought Memorial Day was about remembering the Dead. I didn't find out until I was an adult that it was started to remember those who died in the line of duty.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


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