Thoughts on Memorial

By Mick Holien

No matter what that calendar says it is again the traditional “Weekend of Change.

Finally, after an extended actually old days traditional winter, Memorial Day, dreary and rainy or not, IS HERE accompanied by a regular weekend – can I get an AMEN – is just what some Doctor ordered.

Now the prep we all do in advance of the month’s remainder we know isn’t guaranteed to light the sky with gleaning sunshine but late night temps mellow just a bit and the daytime high finds it easier to reach 60 degrees and sure isn’t about to squander time on Flathead Lake when it easily reaches to 70 degrees.

But we all know that is not the half of it.

I sure it is for you the length of time sunlight continues to brighten our days – extending chore time – and more importantly our attitude. It makes for some late campfire starts but we probably get less sleep in the summer anyway.

But please look at Memorial Day as something more than an extended spring weekend.

It made sense to honor the Nation’s Civil War dead by decorating graves and thus the May 1868 initial moniker of Decoration Day.

But after World War 1 it was determined the recognition should made of all war dead.

New York was the first to designate the day as a legal holiday with several others doing likewise before the Turn of the Century.

But it wasn’t until 1971 that Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act mandated when the observation would be held.

The day is officially recognized at Arlington National Cemetery where a flag is placed on each grave and the official ceremony sees the laying of the wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Of course such a day is recognized far differently in different corners.

I can vividly remember heading up to the family cemetery plot above the Columbia River outside of Stevenson, Wash., which usually was unkempt until the week prior to Memorial Day so the area would look spiffy for the area’s visitors.

Then later after moving to Spokane tradition had it that Indy on the radio was a necessity then some people who I had never seen wear a tie would pull one around their neck and immediately ask for assistance.

And we’d then head to a couple of different cemeteries, searching for each grave to pay our respects and really just a moment of reflection might pay dividends you didn’t anticipate.

It sure does for me.

Just sayin’  


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