The Decorations

About noon today my youngest son, Andrew, and I made our annual Memorial Day trip to the local cemetery where my closest (though sometimes distant) relatives are buried. Near the southwest front of the cemetery are the three graves of my maternal grandmother, my father and my mother.  Set back along the trees at the western edge are the graves of my paternal grandfather and grandmother. Between those 2 groupings of graves and surrounded by graves of servicemen (and women) stands a small military memorial.

That memorial was established after my grandfather died in 1962, but it had been there over a decade by the time my grandmother died in 1977.  A simple memorial, it is made of a small concrete patio with a WWII  era mortar and an American flag flying from a pole. But on Memorial Day, the flag is supposed to be raised (then lowered) to half staff in honor of all who lost their lives in the service of this country. And on this Memorial Day, like on so many other Memorial Days before, the flag remained at full staff.

After Andrew and I had paid our respects to our departed family members, I walked up on the patio by the American flag, unhooked the lanyard, and lowered the flag to half staff.  I don't remember, anymore, the number of years I've performed that simple act of respect for the fallen.

When I visit my father's grave again on July 20, I'm fairly certain that I'll reverse that simple act of respect, and raise to full staff the flag that I lowered, today.  Seven weeks is a long time for any flag to remain at half staff, but it is better than it never having been lowered on Memorial Day.  

Maybe this year someone will notice and raise the flag before my next visit, but i wouldn't bet my life on it. 


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