Tuesday, May 27, 2008

OT: Images of Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, my town seems like the Sugar Maple of New Jersey. Sugar Maple is the picture perfect New England town in Barbara's fabulous new book CASTING SPELLS; it's so perfect it's not quite real (and you find out why in the book).

Here in Glen Ridge, we have the quintessential small town Memorial Day. First, there's the parade which consists of:

Old cars, police motorcycles and ambulances:

A color guard:

The Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, town council, Kiwanis, and Rotary, all strolling along waving, handing out miniature flags and candy. The spectators know all the people marching so there are many friendly greetings called out and answered. The Daisy Scouts get a big round of applause because they're so little and cute and excited to be part of the occasion.

Then there's the centerpiece of the parade (in my eyes and ears anyway): the Glen Ridge High School Marching Band:

Next we have a moving ceremony of remembrance where the Scouts place wreaths in front of our memorials as they read the names of those who died in the wars from World War I on.

Finally, my daughter (no, I'm not a proud mom at all) plays "Taps", possibly the most haunting piece of music ever written. I cry every year but I cried especially hard yesterday because she's a senior and will never do it again. (Okay, so my eyes are even a little wet as I write this.)

Then the whole town is invited to a picnic at our football field where we band parents serve food while the kids run three-legged races or bounce in a moonwalk.

So you see, Barbara, trumpets did blare and marching bands did parade up and down the street when you started knitting again. They just did it a few towns over.

How did everyone else spend their Memorial Day?

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Blogger Nicole said...

Sounds like a wonderfully touching parade, Nancy! I spent the late morning at a parade as well, and we had color guards and boy/girl scouts, and trumpets, too. Our parade was significantly less touching, though, and more "ooh! A parade!" People didn't stand for the flag, and no one (that I heard) played Taps. It was a bit sad to have to wonder how many of the people present actually knew why we were having a parade in the first place.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Sharon Rose said...

We went to the antique car show in Gettysburg. Of course Memorial Day is huge there, since the whole town is still wrapped in the memory of that epic battle.

Great show - excellent cars and well worth the 6 hrs total on the road. :)

4:56 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Nicole, I'm sorry to hear that the meaning of Memorial Day was lost amidst the hoopla. I think that's why I enjoy ours so much: the fanfare is followed by an appropriate solemnity, especially in light of the fact that our young men and women are giving their lives in Iraq right now. We all need to stop and remember that.

Sharon, I bet you saw some unbelievable cars! Do you have one of your own or are you just fans? I always enjoy the half dozen classic cars in our parade myself although I confess to knowing nothing about them. I just think they look really cool.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Turtle said...

I grew up in one of those qunitescential new england towns and yup, our little town here is pretty close as well. (although in new england we did not have an annual sea gull calling contest!) Our memorial day was pretty quiet for us. Hubby is x-military and enjoys celebrating in a quiet family way, by spending time together as he was always away from home when enlisted.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Turtle, I can completely understand your husband's desire to be home with his family on any day at all. Please tell him that we appreciate his service and are glad he's here to celebrate Memorial Day quietly.

A seagull calling contest? Now that's one I've never heard of before!

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

On Memorial Day Weekend, the Seventh Virginia Regiment always shows up in town--usually the Saturday. This year was no exception, and I talked with the spinner again, and my little guy snubbed the reinactment littler guy (mine's about 20 months, the reinactlment little boy is about 4 months) possibly because of the baby bonnet and long white dress the baby was wearing. My husband got "bled" by the regiment's doctor, and Auntie G walked down to the coffee shop and back. The regiment then had the musket and cannon volley, and laid a memorial wreath on a memorial (statue isn't quite the word--obelisk? we'll go with obelisk) obelisk in memory of all those who have served their country, and all those who have given their lives for it.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Cathy, your Memorial Day sounds lovely! I checked out the Seventh Virginia Regiment's website and loved it. I didn't realize they were Colonial re-enactors. That's my favorite period of U. S. history. I thought it was interesting that they felt the need to put a disclaimer on their home page, saying they weren't affiliated with any group trying to overthrow the government!

10:43 AM  

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