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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