Memorial Day can be tricky in our household.
While the day has a solomness surrounding it, it is also usually a pretty day perfect to relax and enjoy some down time. Yes there will be a wonderful meal at the end of the day, however…
First things first.
Mr. Right has an obligation to remember and pay his respects.
Yes, every single year.
Even while we lived in Europe, each year, we visited several American cemeteries where our soldiers rest in peace.
He made a promise never to forget. He makes good on his promises.
So early in the morning, he readies his uniform. Yes, with a small dressmaker’s ruler, every single ribbon, button, and award is measured and remeasure. I don’t think I have to tell you that everything is shined to perfection. Nor are there any wrinkles or lint to be found.
While he prepares, I make sure I am dressed and ready to go when he is. This is important to him, so it is important to me. This year I chose to wear 2 beautiful strands of pearls the grands gave me. Stunning colors along with the smooth, cool feel. I always wear a dress and sandals. The grass is still wet and sandals seems to work best.
We visited a National Cemetery about 30 minutes from our home. The drive is quiet.
We have a list of sites we visit, we made promises. He has soldiers to remember.
As he puts on his hat, I look around and am always taken aback by the beauty of the grounds.
The very next time you complain about taxes, this is a beautiful thing to slip into your mind. Our tax dollars are used to keep the sacred ground in excellent condition. It is a sense of pride and appreciation. Very well done.
As I lag behind and try my best to give him time and space, my eyes wonder. The cemetery is amazingly full of visitors yet shockingly quiet. I see so many flags, one on each grave. Each standing at attention. I see flowers, beautiful flowers symbolizing the love of family and friends. I spy a bottle of unopened beer leaning against a headstone. A unit patch placed on top, a buddy came to visit. I see small stones placed on headstones and coins. Lots of coins, military men will leave a coin to remember their own.
I try not to interrupt others time. I play with my string of pearls. I pray. I pray for military wives and moms. I pray for their shattered hearts. It is the very least I can do.
This year a woman caught my eye, held up her camera and asked if she could take a picture of Mr. Right. He had his back to us. I nodded yes. I appreciated the gesture, her kindness in asking. Her respect of him and his private time.
After an hour or so, you almost forget you are holding your breath. Until that moment when something reminds you to breathe.
As I followed him through one last section, I saw a family of four. A lady about 85+, and 3 others in the 70 year range. They were grouped around a headstone. Flowers in place. I saw the older woman reach in her pocket. She handed each person a Hershey Bar. She kept the last for herself. They each were unwrapping their chocolate. Then they began talking louder and smiling. Remembering. A private, sincere moment, I just happened to be lucky enough to witness it. Chocolate helps them remember.
A fresh military haircut, a spit spot uniform, flowers, a unit patch, a prayer or a chocolate bar…