do you travel or stay home to avoid traffic??
Interesting question, sjf, as I have often felt sad that Memorial Day is no longer the day I remember from my younger years. Back then, it was a day to gather the whole extended family together, gather at the cemetery, clean the grave sites, leave flowers (whatever was available that early in the year - usually iris and peonies) and then celebrate with a meal together with lots of laughter and stories told over and over ~ that usually got more exaggerated as the years went on!
Of course, we paid particular attention to the ones who had served in the military, and everyone repeated those stories as well as the 21 gun-salute fired - to this day, I jump whenever I hear one.
And it wasn't like we just dropped by for an hour or so ~ everyone lived far out on ranches where it took 4-5 hours to get to the cemetery and then twice as long to get back!
But back then, everyone did it ~ it was the one day of the year that the ranch work came to a halt and everyone dropped everything to remember, just for one day, where they had come from and where they were going.
But it has been many years since those days ~ a number of years ago, I made the trip in really lousy weather ~ cold, sleet and hail and made it in time to see that no one else was there from our extended families. I realized then that I was the last one standing ~ even though I was quite young at the time....
It had turned into a 3 day weekend for most and the first camping trip of the summer for others ~ so sad. So no, I won't be traveling anywhere this Memorial Weekend except back into time when the day meant something to all of us.
Anyone else remember those times?
Times change, and seems so can holiday traditions or celebrations. I recall going out to the local cemeteries to place flowers.
Our generation just may be the last to consider "decoration of graves" as a common Memorial day event? I personally no longer do it, nor do many of my generation (unless we take our elderly there to put out their grave decor).
People often live far from where their roots once were, just a fact for both jobs and desire to move. Plus the practice of cremation becoming more common and often ash dispersal rather than cemetery interment.
Spending the day enjoying life, family, and a bit of remembering the past is about all we will do.
From childhood on I've never had family within 500 miles of me to consider this graveside custom and honestly I wouldn't know any of these people if I could locate the graves. Our immediate family have all practiced cremation when the occasion arose and I plan to do the same.
conrad and mamaspoon, I hear you both ~ seems like a common theme that people have moved far away from their roots (and I understand that) and no longer have any connection that makes a memorial day make any sense...
And, yet we have a three day weekend called "Memorial Day" to celebrate it? Maybe we should re-name it something else? FIRST SUMMER WEEKEND or something similar????
The original Memorial (or Decoration) Day was to honor those who were killed defending the nation. It had nothing to do with family; at least not directly. It evolved into family get together and decorating all graves because family lived within a small area. Then it evolved for many into a family get together without visiting the graves. And for many this evolved getting together at the summer camp or cabin.
So things evolve. If we want to go back to the origin we need to go back to just honoring the death of those who died serving their country.
So while we may miss the activities we did as children or young adults it really has nothing to do with Memorial Day.
I agree, metwo, so why do we still call it "Memorial Day?"
And since things evolve this may someday go back to being the rememberance for the fallen soldier. After all in recent years we have taken to thank our living soldier. This Day may come full circle so we thank the dead ones too.
We used to have a parade which ended at the cemetery. We also took peonies to the family graves. It seemed that everyone did that back then. I should really visit my parents' grave site but I haven't done it in a couple of years. My suburb has a soccer tournament and it's just the first holiday weekend of the summer here. Kind of sad that no one seems to remember any more but it's true that so many people have moved away.
Growing up I always went with my parents to put
peonies on the graves. I continue to do this
every year. The peonies I take are from the
bushes my Grandmother had in her yard. My niece also has some of the plants in her yard.
These plants have to be at least 80 years old because I am 72 and was born after she died. It just wouldn't be Memorial Day without honoring our family members and service men.
My husband's parents live in the same state as his grandparents' and other family members who are buried. We know they DO go and put the flowers for Memorial Day.
My family is coast to coast and it would take us 3 days to do this, which direction? Our sister has said she goes and is thankful the military puts up the little red, white and blue flags which is spectacular on all military gravesites. She has sent me pics;and, it is spectacular. Every family situation is different. Some of us just take time to remember our family members without the travel.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust....but memories....they are with us forever.
We have told our kids, after we pass, if they want to honor us...maybe go out for a walk and have a Sundae or other treat (something they enjoy), and think of us. We choose to celebrate life, and live it while here.
My husband works for the government and we live for federal holidays so we can all hang out together and play games and eat dinner together.
My parents roots were in one state and their children were born in another. Until they died we had no graves to visit or decorate.
However I now live far away from my home state and so still have no graves. However I do like to visit cemeteries and read the tombstones. There is a very small one nearby where the people died as early as the 17th century and were killed by indians.
Maybe some on these forums who are historians know that there is an online site that has photographs of gravestones. . . find a grave.com. . . this is an invaluable aid to those interested in genealogy.
Have already explained our gravesite situation. However, we don't like to travel great distances on holiday weekends and fight the traffic ; instead prefer get togethers within 50 miles of home.
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