Memorial Day: A Rewarding and Educational Family Tradition

Memorial Day Family Tradition

What do you do you do on Memorial Day?  I know a lot of people go to the cemetery and put flowers on the graves of loved ones.  We do that, too.  Some people just call it decoration day, because that is what they do.  They decorate graves.

One of the more rewarding things that we do on Memorial Day, when we can, is to visit the Veterans Cemetery.  We don’t get to do it every year because it involves 5 hours of driving.  However, on the years we have made the trip we have felt it well worth the effort.

Most years we only make it to the local cemeteries and put flowers on the graves of those we have known and loved.  I used to feel so fortunate that I didn’t have anyone, who I had been very close to, buried here.  (Not true anymore.)  I guess one of the sad facts of life is that the older you get the more dead people you know.  That’s just what happens, unless you go first, so it’s a good thing.  (My husband always says that “Getting old beats the alternative.”  I’m not certain that will be true when we find out what really awaits us in the next life, but for now, we are working with what we know.)  We have loved ones buried at the Veterans Cemetery, so a trip there on Memorial Day, is a more personal experience.  My children are able to put flowers on the graves of their grand parents and an uncle when we go there.

At most military cemeteries, the Veteran’s Administration does a program on all the patriotic holidays, about veterans of the various wars this country has been involved in.  They tell inspirational stories of sacrifice and bravery.  They make one proud to be an American.  So many flags on so many graves is a sobering and thought provoking scene.  There are so many people who have given so much so that I can enjoy the life that I have.  I think the visit to a military cemetery on Memorial Day is good for a person.  It is educational for children to see the graves and the flags and hear the stories of sacrifice others have made, to give us the life we, so often, take for granted.

Memorial Day 1

This page was made with the Stars and Stripes kit available through Digital Scrapbook Experts.

As part of the program, on Memorial Day, they usually have bands playing patriotic music.  There is a great feeling there.  We also had the opportunity to see a Flag Burning Ceremony done by veterans.  A ceremony to properly dispose of old damaged flags that people brought to the cemetery for that purpose.  I know it was done properly and that it is what is supposed to be done, but I still felt uncomfortable with the burning of the flag.

Memorial Day 2

Stars and Stripes kit available at Digital Scrapbook Experts

My Guardian of Freedom

While standing on the hill top,
Watching what may be your last sunrise,
I stay snuggled with rested eyes.

While fighting each day,
to ward away foes who want to cause harm,
I spend my time tending my farm.

While fighting with the fierce power of a guardian, and risking your life,
I begin cutting my steak with a knife.

While you pray to see tomorrow,
and the fight continues deep into the night,
I sleep snug and tight.

Lying there, cold on the hillside,
I thank you my guardian of freedom,
For giving the ultimate sacrifice, all for a reason,
So I, and others have a life of freedom.

by Wade Fowler,8th grade…..Copyright 2006 Edward Wade Fowler

The Memorial Days that we have spent at the military cemetery have been the most memorable for our family.  Of Course, a trip to a steak house while we are in the area is great too!

Find a Military Cemetery in Your Area.

Do You Have any Memorial Day Traditions?




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Collections: I Have Enough “Stuff” Already

I have ancestors who collected stuff and lots of it.  What should one do with a person’s collections after they pass?

Collections:  Why did they collect?  Why do we collect?

I found some answers in this article, Uncovering the History Behind Collecting by Diane Fricke.  It tells of some of the very reasons I collect and confirms the reasons I saw in my parents collections.  I feel complimented, in a way, to know that some of the things in my parents and grandparents collections were a tie to me.  A way of holding on to something that they weren’t ready to let go of.  It is nice to know that I was so loved.

Do I Want to Keep any of the Collections?

If I keep it I may become a collector too.  Would I like to add to the collection?  Is it something that I actually like and enjoy?  Do I really want it or do I just feel bad getting rid of something that belonged to someone I care about?  Do I want to invest the time or money necessary to maintain it?  Just how much of my precious time, here on earth, am I willing to give up to dust this “stuff”?  (That is a question I find myself asking more and more often about my own “stuff”, let alone the “stuff ” of someone else.)

Should I Split Up a Collection ?

Does the collection have more value as a collection or individually?   Will it lose something in the splitting?  Do any of the people involved really care about the monetary value or is it more the sentimental value that matters?

If the money means more to you than the “stuff”, look into selling it.  Don’t feel bad about it.  Sometimes it is hard to separate people from their “stuff”.  Just because you don’t particularly like someones “stuff” doesn’t mean you care less about them.  You should probably get an appraisal on the items if there is a chance of any real monetary value.  If you don’t know, it would be a good idea to consult an expert.  If you don’t want to spend money an an expert, search ebay and see what the item is going for, if it is there.  I wouldn’t want to let something go for nothing and later find out that it could have put my kids through college.

Sadly most of the things my family has aren’t worth all that much money.  It would be nice to find out I’m sitting on a gold mine, but it’s not likely.  My mother was a collector of many things. She had more than one collection of knick knacks or porcelain figurines.  She had one collection made up of figurines sold through Avon.  Avon has a lot of collectible items and one day maybe the figurines will be valuable, but I don’t believe enough time has passed yet.  They aren’t rare enough to be of much value.  A search for them on ebay confirms my suspicions.  In fact, they may never be worth much at all!

Avon figure collections

One of Mom’s collections.

This layout is made with a kit called Time Flies from the Hummie’s World Etsy Shop

The value of these figurines lies in what they meant to my Mother and in the memory.  Mom made no secret of the fact that each piece of this particular collection represented one of her children.  (Too bad we never behaved quite as well as her collections, and maybe that was part of it too, She was always able to keep control of the collection.  Children aren’t so easy!) We decided the thing to do, in this case, was to give the knick knack to the person it represented.  I wanted to keep the memory of the collection intact in my mind though, so I made a scrapbook page about them.Here is my 2 page spread about the figurines and what each represented.  I only kept the one on the top left because that one reminded my Mom of me.  I like this layout, it takes me for a little visit back to Mom’s house.  She displayed this little group for a good 30 years.  Giving each of the figurines to the one my Mom thought of, when she looked at it, was a fair way to distribute them.  However, I can still look at this page and remember what was.  In fact, my grandchildren will be able to look at this and know why Grandma kept the knick knack of the girl blowing on the dandelion fluff.

Happy Scrappin’! ♥♥♥

Did you inherit any collections from your loved ones?

What did you do with them?

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