Memorable Rites

May 20-2014 049Our grandsons attended their first Memorial Day tribute to Veterans. Their mom wanted her boys to understand it’s not just a long weekend to kick off summer. She wanted a more personal experience than a parade and flag waving.

They were camping at our weekend place with us so we all attended a small and poignant ritual presented by the local Oregon chapter of the American Legion.

We arrived at a historic and small cemetery on a windswept hill outside of the town of Wamic, OR, a little before the 9:30AM ceremony. There were a variety of gravestone designs and sizes, surrounded by individualized gardens, bushes, or well tended grass. It was almost like a maze where there was something new to see around each tree. Small American flags were placed by the stones that marked the grave of a veteran who served their country and returned home.

The flags are the USA stars & stripes, POW-MIA, and the American Legion.

The flags are the USA stars & stripes, POW-MIA, and the American Legion.

This was the first of three ceremonies and all included the flag procession, short tribute prayers, a 21 gun salute (historic rifles!), and “Taps” played clean and clear on a real bugle. Red silk poppies were distributed to be added to the flags on the veterans graves.

Memorial Day is not just about the soldiers who were killed in battle, but for all those who served. Like my dad and his brothers who served in WWII, and all three returned home and returned to their lives, established careers, married and had families. They were proud to have served but considered their military duty as a short phase in the years of their lives.

May 20-2014 020Our grandsons were interested and respectful, as it was charming, heartfelt, and comforting. I’m sure the boys will remember it even if they don’t make it an annual ritual in their lives. But now they know what Memorial Day means in the USA. Regardless of what their future experiences may be regarding war, they will have a memory of paying tribute to the military personnel that served their country with patriotism and honor.

About Terri Patrick
Writer of Romance and Memoir. Life is an adventure, take that journey.

5 Responses to Memorable Rites

  1. Rose L. says:

    I think that was a wonderful idea. Children and young adults often do not even realize what Memorial day is, and it is a good experience for them. I am glad you did that,

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  2. jamie says:

    So many who didn’t return. Glad you were there and with family.

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  3. Trish says:

    I sometimes feel conflicted about Memorial Day – primarily because of our most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, perpetuated on false evidence…lies. Men and women who joined the military after 9-11, believing they were defending their country, and were sent to either Iraq or Afghanistan have suffered tremendously. I feel for them. Many came home with terrible injuries, to a VA that is mired in bureaucracy. That’s a tragedy.

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    • I know how you feel. My dad said little about his experience but his attitude was that war is a horror but those that serve are not the cause. Whatever their reasons to serve in the military, patriotism, duty, or the G.I. bill, they are naive to the realities they will face in war. Dad had no respect for the decision makers, or the patriotic propaganda, but the 18 year old boys who answered the call and served their time should be honored and remembered. They didn’t realize they were entering a lie, or would return destroyed, if they returned at all. That’s what we wanted our grandsons to understand, Memorial Day is about those that served because they did believe there was value in their efforts, so we value their efforts.

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  4. Allison DuBois’ Fan Page (posted on FaceBook)
    June 7 at 9:15pm ·
    I bring a lot of soldiers through, from every war. They’re all so proud of being soldiers. They love their ‘girl’ and what I have learned is that, they’re so proud, they take the happy moments with them. Their weddings, babies, comrades and family, are all that they care about. They live a better life than most.
    http://www.allisondubois.com/

    Like

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