My grandma still calls Memorial Day "Decoration Day". This is not surprising, since my Grandma, being now 83, does lots of things the "old fashioned" way. She still takes vases of flowers, wreaths, and little statues to the cemetery to honor those who are there. She pulls the weeds, if there are any, around my grandpa's tombstone, and the tombstones marking the final resting places of her parents, her brother, aunts and in-laws.
I can't remember the last time I attended the military service that was held in that cemetery. I remember the men in uniform; that they fired guns. I was little and I remember thinking it was pretty loud. I don't know of any services like that in the town I live in, though I am sure they exist...somewhere... people assembling to honor and to remember those who died fighting for our freedom. Someone honors them, right?
I didn't even know those people, nor they me, so it seems odd to visit their graves, to mourn their passing. Though it is not odd to my grandma. It is as natural to her as is baking a pie or making homemade noodles. It's just what she does; how she lives. And although she knows that the younger generations do not always honor these traditions, she carries on. She carefully chooses just the right flowers, then dutifully delivers them and arranges them. She pays her respects.
In my mother's generation few people, it seems, still visit the cemeteries regularly. In my generation there are fewer still. In our mobile society, most of us do not live near the burial sites of our ancestors. (though any of us could honor any number of fallen soldiers in local grave yards.) And yet we don't...at least not with any regularity.I wonder how many of my peers have even attended one of those loud gun-firing ceremonies.
When my grandmother passes away, will there be flowers on her grave? Little statues of bunnies or angels to attend her plot? Who will pull the weeds that spring up after the rains? And what about the graves of my parents? Will anyone remember the soldiers who died, the loved ones who passed?
If not me, then who?