Yesterday morning, as Bill and I ate delicious apple turnovers just out of the oven, he asked me if I had any patriotic music on my playlists. I admitted that I did not. So we asked our faithful, yet oh-so-mostly-unhelpful Google Home, if she could play The Star Spangled Banner. She declined, as is usually her response, indicating she didn’t have that in her music library. The National Anthem? So I’m suspecting Communist ties. However, she did offer to play other patriotic music, and suddenly our house was filled with the sounds of Stars and Stripes Forever, followed by Anchors Aweigh, and then by the Marines’ Hymn.
And then she just stopped, apparently believing that we had heard about enough of patriotic music. Seems fishy, doesn’t it? She didn’t even play the Army song As the Caissons Go Rolling Along, and that was the branch of the military in which Bill served.
Anyway, when Stars and Stripes Forever came on, I will admit to you that I immediately started to cry real tears. I don’t find that song particularly moving, though it’s quite peppy. The reason I started to cry was that it immediately reminded me of Bill’s mother, who passed away in April. Wilma was a music lover, and when we would visit, she would often play one of her CDs on her little boom box. And the one she played most often was a free CD featuring patriotic music she received thanks to a contribution to some veteran’s group, led off by Stars and Stripes Forever. And she would play it loudly and would tap her feet in time to the music. And sometimes sing along. She had a sweet voice.
Memorial Day, of course, is celebrated in honor of the men and women who died on battlefields to keep our country free. Originally called Decoration Day, I learned recently that it wasn’t declared a national holiday until 1971. Wow. Of course, I believe it was Google Home who told me that, and she could have just been trying to send me off course.
Every Memorial Day when we lived in Columbus, Mom would cut flowers from her yard and take them out to the cemetery, where she would arrange them on the grave sites of her mom and dad. Then we would troop over to the memorial garden where my dad’s mom and dad were laid to rest and do the same.
Every single Memorial Day that we have been in town, I have brought flowers to Dad’s and Mom’s grave site. One year we brought a patriotic wreath that Bill had made. I worried about that one, because it was made from artificial flowers, and Mom HATED artificial flowers. I expected her to haunt me all year. The fact that she thought Bill walked on water and he had made the wreath is probably all that protected me. It’s been fresh flowers every since.
Jen came for the barbecue I held yesterday, and she and I went out to the cemetery together. I never feel called to go more often than once a year, because it’s a national cemetery so it is always pristine, and I know Mom and Dad are in heaven. But I try to go once a year, mostly because the cemetery looks so pretty, what with the flags on all of the graves and all….
While both my dad and my husband served in the military, I am pleased that neither one of them lost their lives fighting for our country. Still, their service, and the service of everyone who has served or is currently serving, makes me proud to be an American.
So proud, in fact, that I baked this pie….
Happy Memorial Day!