Monday, May 27, 2013
Memorial Day 2013
I knew before I went to bed last night, it was not going to be pleasant at the Memorial Day parade and ceremony at our cemetery today, but I went anyway. I drove through rain most of my way to Austin. About 10 miles north of Albert Lea, it was more of a downpour, and never let up. Driving to the downtown area of town, I thought, "There's no way they're having this parade!" But then, I saw older men in uniform, marching and holding flags. I found my family members and watched the remainder of the parade — holding my umbrella over me and my brother. At the conclusion, we walked to his car and drove out to the cemetery. For the first time ever, we sat in the car for the ceremony, which was held, per usual, with dedications of wreaths, 21 gun salute, and taps. There were many umbrellas circling those gathered around the flower arrangements.
Driving back to the cities I thought about this day – being miserable in the rain, temperature holding steady at 52 degrees (This is May 27, right?!). And then it came to me: Shame on me! Shame on me for feeling a little "put out" because it wasn't a beautiful day. My brother spent miserable days – perhaps even weeks, in the monsoons of Viet Nam.
Jerry went through many things of which he has never spoken. I can only imagine the horror he saw. He's not alone. Since the Civil War, there have been many wars, and millions have served and continue to serve, witnessing major atrocities. There are monuments in cemeteries, towns, and cities. There are parades and ceremonies across our nation. In some small way, I hope they speak of our gratitude for the sacrifices that have been made. To those I know personally: Hans, Jerry, Uncle Allan, Wayne, Chad, Keith, Pudge, Nathan, Charlie, Pete, Ryan, Phil, Jim and Merlyn – thank you!