31 MAY, 2004

The photos below were taken at our city's annual Memorial Day Program. These programs are held in most towns throughout the USA. Memorial Day, which is at the end of May, is a remembrance for those who sacrificed their lives fighting for our country. It began in the late 1860's after the American Civil War. I am not a fan of warfare nor am I a "flag waver", but Memorial Day has a special meaning for me. My family always observed it and it was generalized by visiting and laying flowers on the graves of all our family members, soldiers or not. I think that many families do this. Sometimes this would involve a half day trip to a more distant cemetery and a meal at a restaurant.

I'll let the photos speak for themselves. They were taken as the various parts of the ceremony and speeches were going on. People are thoughtful, relaxing, listening intently, or just enjoying the nice weather. Some are American Legion members. The "soldiers" in the last couple of photos form a squad that fires three rounds that are followed by the bugle playing "Taps" in honor of the dead. When I was a kid the loud volley of shots was absolutely terrifying. Now I proudly take it "like a man" and probably loose some of my hearing every May. What's that you said?......

After the photos is one of my favorite poems, "In Flanders Fields." It is very sad... "We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie". Quite often it is read during the Memorial Day ceremony. I miss it when it is not.

In Flanders Fields
by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In Flanders Fields