Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day…

A long standing remembrance

memorial dayframed{vintage post cards from Graphic Fairy}


Where I come from,  Massachusetts ( not far from Cape Cod)

 thumbnailCA3V6OIH{photo images found on-line, bing}flagonmemorialday
Memorial Day is a BIG deal.  And every Memorial Day since moving here in the South my thoughts return to my small town (then small…not now) remembering the traditional preparations to get ready for our big day; Memorial Day Parade!

Everyone would be marching in it.  If you belonged to ANYthing…any group…it was likely you would be marching IN the parade!  I started in 2nd grade b/c I was a Brownie!

memorialday Watertown, ma  thumbnailCAX992PT

     Several weeks before Memorial Day,the Boy Scouts would place tiny American flags on all the graves of most cemeteries  (we had a LOT of grave yards –stemming back to the Revolutionary War).



Buckets and buckets of paper poppies were sold by the American Veteran’s League. thumbnailCALZAB5W

My Mother and I would make  several trips to the cemetery to plant flowers and place potted flowers on the graves of all our family, most of whom I had never met, nor had my Mother!   I would marvel at the sea of flags on SO many of the graves!

And so, the big day would come. Young and old we would all meet on the side streets near town and get ready for the 5 mile march through out our town.thumbnailCAO4CF5OthumbnailCA1KZ7AX

Veterans (and current service men/women  would either line up to march IN the parade or…get a good place on the side lines.thumbnailCAWQAVDBthumbnailCA7KYCZ8

I remember the Memorial Day that it became MUCH more than a day of parades, balloons, ice cream and cook outs.

I was marching in the band that year, and just in the 7th grade.  Vietnam war was just a vague thought to this 12 year old girl, all I could think about was how I WISHED I could be a majorette marching,  instead of  (heavy sigh) playing the clarinet in the band! I wanted to be in front of the band, in a cool majorette uniform and with all the other girls!  Not wearing a boy’s uniform AND my brother’s hand-me-down pants (oh the agony of it all!!!) and suit jacket and hat!  (I would later become a majorette marching in the HS band…WHEN I became a high schooler).  

I loved watching all of the high school majorettes (my brother was a Sr. and knew them all) I could even do some of their routines!  

  ….but this1968_MAJORETTES


particular Memorial day, there was one majorette that was marching with a broken heart.  Peggy.  She was an upper classman, she was sweet, she was pretty, she was kind. 

Her brother had just been killed in Vietnam.

  It suddenly brought it home…the war…the immense sacrifice of ones that we KNEW, that we had gone to school with their sisters and brothers.   My parents KNEW  their Mother and Father because they too, went to school together and got married to high school sweethearts and had children …together.

Now there was one missing, forever. It was written in stone.

Peggy began to weep.  Her weeping became uncontrollable sobbing.    The gut wrenching sobs, that just listening to these sobs, make your eyes water and your throat choke up.


She was instantly surrounded by all of her fellow majorettes as they circled around her.  Like mother animals circle around their young to protect them against the harsh world.

She didn’t  understand WHY?  She didn’t understand WHAT FOR?…Please…someone tell her it is only a dream!…

But it wasn’t. 

The breeze was gently blowing on that little cemetery hill…that is

until the guns fired

and fired and fired again.

  Smoke rose softly from such a loud noise.  And then, there it was.  Starting out crisp and sharp.  “Just” twenty six notes that can tear into a Mother’s heart and make a blonde haired, pony tail sister, sink to her knees in silent sobs. 

thumbnailCABNXXEDThe last note was finished.

People were fumbling to find a Kleenex to wipe their tears.  And

there it was again…slowly, barely audible at first, but it came stronger and louder with every note.  The echo.  The “fallen soldier’s” mournful reply.  We all knew that it was really another trumpet player that had climbed  another grassy knoll and hid behind a big maple tree to “answer the call”.  But for me, it was a vivid awareness.  The true meaning of “war”  and  a young man’s death. 

A tidal wave of grief that would make it personal…to all the towns’ people.  Different yes…monumentally different for the families who have lost a son, a brother, a sister, Mother, Father.  But to this day, I remember Tommy G.   When I see any service man or women, young or old…I remember Tommy G.  And I remember his sister, Peggy, the one who marched with a broken heart that Memorial Day.

  thumbnailCAUQ8F25Now when I see a uniformed service man bow their head, when I see a Veteran steel gaze, rise steady to the sky; I know that they are thinking of their own lost brothers/sisters/sons or daughters. 


And I think,

always of Tommy G. 


thumbnailCAZOXN2RAnd pray…again and again that my own soldier will stay safe as he fights for OUR freedom.  That he will come home to his sweet young wife.  That he will NEVER be

someone’s “Tommy G.’s” memory…

like Tommy will forever be mine…and the folks in a  small town in Massachusetts.




burialflagIn memory of my Father, D. A. Brown  who died a Veteran of  WWII…and of  Thomas Ghelli, Holliston, Ma who was killed in action, fighting for freedom.

Our freedom.

Our land,

our town

and our family.


  1. What a marvelous post! Thank you for posting this. God bless our military personnel and our great nation, too.

    Gentle hugs!

  2. Mollydiane,

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

    What a beautiful and moving post. We are so blessed to live in this great country!