After the Biathlon on July 20, Andrew, Tim and I drove out to Monmouth Memorial Park to pay respects to our departed loved ones --specifically their grandfather, my father, who died 25 years ago that day. We entered the cemetery and turned a familiar left into the section where my mother, father and grandmother are buried. Tim met my grandmother as an infant but he has no real memory of her, she passed away before he was a year old; he knew my father as a toddler and he has memories helped by the stories of the adventures my father and he had before he was 3 years old. Andrew was born nearly 5 years after my grandmother had passed and nearly 3 years after my father and had only the family stories and our visits to the graveyard to build some sense of who these departed relatives were.
We turned to walk to the back of the cemetery where my father's mother and father were buried and we could see through the trees in the quiet of that summer morning the flag at the veteran's memorial flying high at full staff. We stopped at that simple memorial on the way to my grandparent's graves and saw that the flag was fully raised, the lanyard was tied off around the thwart just as it had been before I'd lowered it on Memorial Day. For the first time in many years of my July 20 visits to the cemetery, I looked at the memorial, walked right past, and visited Edward Benjamin and Marion Coleman's graves. And thanks to the anonymous flag-raiser of Monmouth Memorial Park, I didn't need to touch a thing.