For some reason, I seemed to understand and appreciate more about Memorial Day this year than in previous years. I am not sure why, but there was a whole bevy of experiences that culminated in a further appreciation for what the day means. This is the US equivalent of Anzac Day – so it has been wonderful finding and creating new traditions here.
It was Fleet Week here in NYC leading up to Memorial Day weekend. From the windows at work, we were able to see the USS New York sail up the Hudson. To say it was an emotional experience would be an understatment. I had goosebumps and it was absolutely beautiful. All of the Marines were lined up around the whole deck of the boat and did not move. We also got to see historical planes and helicopters fly up and down the river at various times during the day and yes… we got to see lots of Marines in uniform in the city!
As we were in Lancaster for the weekend, we drove past so many cemetaries with American flags near so many headstones, you realize this goes way beyond Arlington. You could see them in even the smallest graveyards. To know that there are people who do this every year for those that fought is moving in itself. It is so comforting to know that these people are not forgotten.
On Monday, we stopped by a cemetary in a small town and got to take part in their Memorial Day ceremony. It was extremely moving standing in this graveyard, on the top of a hill, the wind was blowing and with nothing but gunfire and military direction cutting the silence. Here are some photos from the ceremony –
As we made the drive home, NPR had a broadcast where people were just calling up, talking about those they knew who fought in various wars over the years and hearing everyday, personal stories added to the day immensely.
On HBO, we watched the movie ‘Taking Chance’ – this has now become essential Memorial Day viewing. Such a moving and realistic portrayal and Kevin Bacon was fantastic in it. If you can watch it, I highly recommend it.
We alo set our Tivo to record the PBS Memorial Day concert that we watched this week. Again, it was so moving and so well done. We will make sure every year that we wil watch it. As well as the patriotic music they also have various actors reading pieces about soldiers or their families and it really puts a normal, human perspective on war.