Monday, May 30, 2011

Well, It's Memorial Day

Yes, it is Memorial Day and a beautiful day today in western Pennsylvania. I remember when it was Decoration Day, on May 30th every year, no matter the day of the week. We did have the day off school. The parade started at the Post Office downtown and marched past our house. We had a front seat. Everyone came out. Then we joined it,as it rounded our corner, walking to the cemetery down the hill. The service with the white wooden crosses, and in the late 60's, Tex Yonika's name added to the list, our town's young man killed in the Vietnam War. He was a friend of my oldest sister. My parent's had an open house for him as he came home from being an exchange student in South Africa.
Always visited the WW1 soldier statue of Elliot fascinated by the granite image.
We visited the graves of relatives gone and then had a cold pop given away by the Vets, I suppose. I write this now as my youngest daughter is practicing The Star Spangled Banner in the alto part- how lovely and fitting.
Some years, Dad drove us to Pymatuning, a reservoir north of us in the next county. I spent the day swimming as Mom and Dad sat on a bench watching. I love Pymatuning, I feel it is in my blood. My dad knew all the back roads like the clich├ęd back of his hand. His father-in-law was amazed at how my dad could get around that area. One year we had Kentucky Fried Chicken picnic at the dam area with Grandpa. We really spent many weekend days there. My first camping trip when I was a few months old was in Andover, OH in a cabin. With the camper van, we spent the weekend on the Jamestown side.
As I got older and Memorial Day was the name, I think I was in 6th grade, we went to the service in the High School auditorium. A DJ, Johnny K from Youngstown, OH, spoke and we found out he was a Christian. I listened to him differently after that day, also developed a new love for Cat Stevens' "Morning Has Broken." as Johnny K pointed out that it was in the hymnal.
I grew up with Decoration Day/Memorial Day as more than just the kick off to summer, although that couldn't help but be a part of that day, especially when we are gifted with such a wonderful weather day as today. Today, I remembered in Hermitage Hillcrest Cemetery with it's 2000 veterans buried there, what a special holiday this is. America has fought evil- call it what you may, it is evil as the speaker today pointedly proclaimed. We need to remember the soldiers that carried that heavy toll and gave their lives for freedom. Thank you.
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