Friday, May 16, 2008

Memorial Day - Their Great Sacrifice

My dad at 19 in WWII
1875th Engineer Aviation Battalion
“"ESSAYONS" Let Us Try”

From the time I was little Memorial Day was an important day. Mother had always celebrated in her little hometown of Grafton, WV by having a parade and all the school children would march to the National Cemetery carrying bouquets of flowers each had gotten from his or her home garden. Their mission was to choose a grave of one of the soldiers who had given his life in one of our wars and lay the flowers on that grave. Mother loved that part. She would comb the cemetery and read the various tombstones and choose her soldier carefully. She taught us early that the true meaning of Memorial Day was to honor those who had given their lives in service to our country. I remember attending one of the parades when I was a child and seeing a soldier from the Spanish-American War. Wow, I thought that was so far back and he must have been so old. He was in a wheelchair but he carried his head proudly.

Grafton National Cemetery

Throughout the years, we would sometimes go to Grafton, sometimes have a family reunion and sometimes celebrate at home. It was always the weekend that they opened our neighborhood swimming pool so we were always excited. One year the kids in my neighborhood decided to put on our own parade. One of the moms helped make costumes and we had an Uncle Sam and everyone dressed in red, white and blue. Our bike spokes were decorated with red, white and blue cards to make a noise as we came down the street and steamers hung from our handlebars. We all worked together to make a giant banner that said Happy Memorial Day. We marched for blocks all over the neighborhood and people came out of their houses just to watch us. It was so much fun! (that was the year I baked my first cake and decided to use food coloring to make the icing red, white and blue. When I mixed the red and blue dye in the white icing, the icing turned a battleship gray color and it was the worst looking cake you have ever seen!)

This is what I wanted my cake to look like!

Whether we put on a parade, attended a parade, went to a reunion or went to the swimming pool we always took time to remember the brave soldiers who gave their lives so that we could enjoy the freedoms we had. Even though we were young we realized their great sacrifice and we knew we wouldn't have been able to be carefree kids in this wonderful country of ours without them. Once again, Memorial Day is approaching and we will remember.


  1. The parades and laying of flowers sound like a great idea. Nice pics!

  2. Great read. Grafton! My late husband was from French Creek, not far from there.
    Thanks for participating.


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