Memorial Day has always been special, but the last two have been different.
Last year, I decorated my mother’s almost bare grave where nothing but the mortuary’s sign was standing. I was the one to place her American Legion Auxiliary flag and cross to recognize her service as a civilian in the organization that works with veterans, for veterans, by veterans. I watched the Memorial Day ceremony thinking of the years she once participated in that very special ceremony.
This year, I decorated a grave marked by a beautiful blue stone with both my mother and my father’s name etched into the glistening stone. I was there as flags and crosses were placed for both of them.
This year, I sat with my uncle and close friends through the ceremony I feel like I have memorized.
This year, the ceremony became real. Family friends have passed on, leaving a legacy of shenanigans and military service that we have not forgotten.
This year, it is real; my family name is on that list.
Ronal D. Johnson, 1950-2017, United States Marine
This year, I cried.
Rifle salute. Taps. Flag raising.
In January dad received his full military honors, I thought it felt real then. Nothing, I think, could prepare me for Memorial Day.
It was such an honor that dad was selected to have his flag flown center circle during the ceremony and I will be forever thankful for this special moment.