Meaning of Memorial Day becomes clear with age

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2008

As I was watching this year’s Memorial Day parade on television, my mind wandered back to my childhood days.

I was too young then to understand what Memorial Day was all about.

I can very well remember the cotton candy, the balloons, the many different floats, the marching bands from various schools. And, there were the clowns with the funny faces walking along, tossing candy to the children.

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And I can still hear the fire trucks sounding off as they proudly marched along the parade route. And meetings with folk I hadn’t seen for a while was indeed a thrill to me.

I recall marching in the parade, which was a highlight of my childhood. There were kids marching in the parade who could go faster than I, and in trying to keep up with them, I would stumble and fall, skinning my knees real bad. But that did not stop me. I would get up and try again.

My dad told me that when the parade was over he would pick me up on such and such corner. But when I went to the place where he was supposed to be, he was not there. I could not find him anywhere. It was bad enough have skinned knees, but not being able to find my dad was very disappointing to me.

When the parade was over. I went home to find that my mom had packed a picnic lunch. She would have all the goodies that would make a delicious meal. We put our lunch in a wagon, and headed out for the old Henry Cemetery for our picnic at the graveside of my little brother.

Sometime during the day, it would usually rain on Memorial Day, and on this particular day it rained and our picnic lunch got soaked. But even this did not hinder us from enjoying our picnic. We ate the food, even if it was soaked.

Well, I returned home that Memorial Day with my legs all scratched, and skinned knees.

The days of my childhood are over, and I have learned what Memorial Day is all about. Of course, I still enjoy the parade, the get-together with friends and family, and I enjoy the hot dogs and hamburgers.

I realize now that the purpose of celebrating this day is not the picnics, funny clowns, floats, bands, or cotton candy, but to honor our soldiers who have fought and gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy in the good old USA.

God bless America.

Glenna Leach