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The Columbia Press

Columnists & Other Opinions

Senior Moments: Remembering what's important

Emma Edwards
By Emma Edwards, Thursday, June 3, 2021

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. It was formally known as Decoration Day and commemorates all men and women who have died in military service for our United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This coming Monday is Memorial Day, a time to remember.

We are reminded that our flag doesn’t fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each person who died protecting it.

Many choose Memorial Day to go to the cemetery where loved ones are buried to spruce up their graves.

Many church services on Sunday will include singing of The Star-Spangled Banner. “Oh say, does that star-spangled banner wave o'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” And America the Beautiful. “America! America! God shed His grace on thee! And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!”

Memorial Day is traditionally seen as the start of summer. We weren’t allowed to wear white shoes, white clothes or even white trousers or knickers until Memorial Day.

As a child living in Detroit, Mich., the holiday meant a picnic at either Chandler Park or Belle Isle. My three brothers were taken to the park almost at the break of dawn to get a “good table.” They always had a snack equivalent to breakfast with them and kind of commandeered the table that our father had chosen.

The boys literally sat on the tables until the rest of us and all the food were brought out nearer to noon. That was what Memorial Day meant to us – the first picnic of the year and fun. Sometimes our cousins would join us so we would need to move a table or two nearby over to attach to our table.

Our menu usually consisted of sandwiches (filled with ground-up bologna and pickles), potato salad and pickled cucumbers and onions. Sometimes we had a watermelon, too. The beverage was orange Kool-Aid.

If the cousins joined us, then Aunt Thelma and my mother would try to outdo each other on the desserts to make it an even better picnic. We always had tablecloths for the picnic tables.

Memorial flowers were loaded in the trunk of the car and brought to the cemetery on the way to the picnic by our parents and us two girls. There was no ceremony or explanation, except that it was the thing we did on Decoration Day, a day we got to spend enjoying our freedom.

We need never forget that we live in the home of the free because of the brave.

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