Remembering

  Memorial Day is pretty much like any other day for my husband, a newspaper sports editor. He does go in to the office a bit later than normal, but there’s no time for cookouts or picnics or parties. So I wondered what he had in mind when he asked if I’d like to help him do something before he left for work today. Turns out he had a different sort of Memorial Day celebration planned. We drove to the Corinth National Cemetery, just a mile or so from our house, where  Boy Scouts and other volunteers had decorated gravestones with American flags today. It’s a beautiful spot — quiet, peaceful and shady — especially with thousands of flags fluttering in the breeze. He and I drifted into different areas, and when I caught sight of him again, he was in a far corner of the cemetery. I noticed him bending over individual markers, coming back up with a flag in his hand, waving the flag around and then bending back down, over and over again: He was picking up flags that had fallen over on the ground, waving them around to air out the wrinkles and then placing them back upright next to the gravestones. “It just seems like the right thing to do,” he said, as I joined him. We didn’t cover the entire cemetery, but we straightened quite a few flags. And we talked. About the origins of this cemetery — the U.S. government established it in 1866 for Union casualties of nearby battles, so there are only three Confederate soldiers buried here. About the older couple we watched place an arrangement at the marker of a young man killed in the Persian Gulf war — was he their son? About the markers listing service in multiple wars — World War II, Korea and Vietnam were a common combination. About the single dried rose left atop one gravestone. And about the thousands of unidentified soldiers buried here, lost to their families. But, today — remembered.

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