Memorial Day 2015

by Grace aka costofcollege

201104.eWashingtonDC67AID

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

This photo is from a Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery, a moving ritual that honors U.S.soldiers who gave their lives for their country.  The dedication and precision demonstrated during the ceremony was impressive and confidence-inspiring.

What’s on your mind this Memorial Day?

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46 thoughts on “Memorial Day 2015

  1. DD and Meme – Thanks for the information and advice. Gives me some things to look into. My parents are already in a retirement community that has a continuum of care. I have a call in to the person who handles movement between levels for residents, but am waiting for this holiday weekend to end. Our current goal is to get the transfer to the onsite skilled nursing faciity, which currently has an opening, but getting it depends on the hospital evaluation happening quickly and all the approvals happening before the spot is taken. I am not sure that going back to independent living is realistic, but maybe to assisted living. There has been mental and physical deterioration taking place over time, and a lack of desire to fight back, neither bode well for a full recovery.

  2. I don’t have particularly good associations with Memorial Day. When I was little, my dad would load my grandma and me into the car and drive to Golden Gate National Cemetery to put flowers on my grandfather’s grave. Dad hated both his mother and father so this process was onerous for him. I think they brought me along as a distraction so he and Grandma didn’t really have to talk to each other.

    My mother thought that funerals and burials and open coffins and decorating graves was primitive and barbaric. She and my dad both wanted to be cremated, and Dad wanted his WWII service recognized, so they’re both in boxes in the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, where neither my sister nor I will ever visit.

    Yeah, I’m a real day-brightener, I know.

  3. If the continuing care community social worker is acceptable to your parents, he/she is the place to start and it is paid for. The facility may also have rules about the source of outside aides that come in and/or a deal with a local agency to provide them. The relief aides were the hardest thing to coordinate for me – sometimes they just didn’t show up. My mom was in a robust assisted living with medication management and a memory program (breakfast and lunch covered) six days a week (all for an extra fee, of course), but we all agreed that an aide would come in 4 to 8 pm three times a week and on Sundays since she couldn’t negotiate the dining room anymore, and they would cover the other three evenings and back up on Sunday, when it was 50-50 that the aide would show up.

  4. Austin, that’s good that they are already in a community like that so it’s not as big of a transition, and they can still be physically close to each other.

  5. My soldier is sitting in the next chair, so I don’t have a personal military connection to mourn, but today would have been my long deceased daughter’s 39th birthday. Memorial Day plus or minus a few days is always crowded at Mt Auburn Cemetery, so I find another season to go over there, usually only once every few years.

    I have been in a very reflective and friendly mood lately, possibly my own relief reaction now that DIL has finished her treatments. I don’t make lifelong friends, but I have encountered recently some people who were somewhat close for short periods long ago and let them know how much they meant to me , if necessary making an apology for some long forgotten unkindness on my part. I am going to Cali in June to see my children out there, making the yearly rounds. It is good to keep current accounts.

  6. Meme, I can only imagine that it is a melancholy kind of day. My thoughts are with you.

    On my mind is my appreciation for parents who don’t prevent their kids from serving in our Armed Forces. My facebook feed is full of pics of young men (no women) who are the sons of my high school and college friends who are now Rangers, or at West Point, or regular Army straight out of high school. I’m sure all of my friends were somewhat apprehensive to have their sons choose a path which could potentially see them in harm’s way, but all support their kids wholeheartedly, and are very proud to share their pictures today. I can only hope I would behave equally admirably if either of my children chose that route. (Risley, you had very eloquently put into words many of the concerns that I know I would wrestle with if presented with the same situation, and I very much appreciate you sharing your thought process with us.) My own son told me in a discussion when he was around 10-12 that he believes some things are worth dying for. I hate that our military is disproportionately made up of low income and minority youth, when it is arguable that the UMC benefits most from the freedoms which we so often take for granted. I have no thoughts on making the situation more equitable, but am happy that the moms in my world feel happy to share with the rest of us.

  7. Family relationships can certainly be challenging and complicated. I just read something about the rising numbers of “elder orphans”, seniors with no immediate family to help care for them as they age. I hope it works out smoothly for you, AustinMom.

    I’m thrilled to have been invited to a cousin’s September family reunion, where if I go I hope to reconnect with family members that I haven’t seen since I was a kid.

    “On my mind is my appreciation for parents who don’t prevent their kids from serving in our Armed Forces.” Yes, although we don’t prevent them we often try to dissuade them in many ways.

    It’s a stupendously gorgeous day here in NY, such a gift for a day off.

  8. While many of my relatives served in the miltary, those who served in combat all returned home. So, Memorial Day is not a day of mourning in my family. I don’t think either of my kids are old enough to know if that is a direction they would consider. I think it would be hard for me to encourage them.

    The skies have darkened again and the thunder has started. We are under a tornado watch today. The governor has delcared a state of disaster in 24 counties due to the rain/flooding this weekend. That brings the total number of counties up to 37 this month. For you non-Texans, we have 254 counties in the state.

  9. Ever since my kids started school, May has turned out to be a supremely busy month. This three day weekend felt very restful and a time for reflection.
    Meme, I am glad your DIL is done with her treatments and I want to acknowledge your daughter’s birthday.
    RMS – in my culture there is a pre buying of one’s final resting place, horse trading for a better gravesite (LOL), concern that one’s name must be properly engraved and fighting among the descendants over perceived slights to the deceased. I care about none of this and my attitude shocks my mother.

  10. We always travel to NJ for the weekend. DH marched in his towns parade. DS and I watched from the sidelines. We honored a Scout Master who passed suddenly 15 years ago. I visited the cemetery. I always do. My grandfather survived WWII only to pass of cancer on Memorial Day.

    I noticed how many flags were in the cemetery. And how the number added is less and less. And while that thought makes me happy it’s also sad. Less remembrance.

  11. Junior and I spent some time this weekend planting flags on veterans’ graves in our local cemetery with the boy scouts. Then we had a nice, and decent ceremony.

    I am glad that we honor our veterans.

  12. “There has been mental and physical deterioration taking place over time, and a lack of desire to fight back, neither bode well for a full recovery.”

    I hope this does not come off as insensitive, but under those circumstances, hospice might be an option.

  13. I’m a big fan of hospice, but I’m not sure Austin’s parent would qualify. Under Meidcare, you need a diagnosis of a terminal illness with a prognosis of less than 6 months. It’s definitely worth looking into, though.

  14. Finn – Your comment wasn’t insensitive. However, the situation resolved itself in that my parent passed peacefully earlier this afternoon. As you know, we were expecting a transfer to skilled nursing, but in the big picture I think this was much more peaceful than a slower decline. The spouse is now the one I need to watch more carefully – balancing some relief of not living with a very angry person all the time with the sorrow of loosing your spouse of 53 years.

  15. Oh, my gosh, Austin. My condolences. What a surprising turn of events. My sympathy to all your family. It’s always hard to lose a parent, no matter how old you are.

  16. Austin – my condolences. I felt very sad to read what you were dealing with since the start of this with weekend.

  17. Austin, I’m so sorry for the loss that you and your other parent just experienced.

  18. Austin — Adding my condolences. Please know that I’m thinking of you.

  19. AustinMom – So sad and obviously unexpected. My thoughts are with you in this time of so many swirling emotions, practical details, and responsibilities, in addition to your own grief and that of your children and surviving parent.

  20. Austin, I’m very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family.

  21. Austin, I don’t suppose it can be said too many times – sorry for your sudden loss. I hope you find some measure of peace in all of this.

  22. Thinking of you, AustinMom. Were funeral arrangements pre-planned? In any case, you have a lot on your plate now so take care of yourself.

  23. Austin, so sorry for your loss. We are all thinking of you.

    If the time comes when you have a question on logistics for estate administration, please feel free to email me (L juggle atty at gmail) at any time.

  24. The flooding in Austin and other parts of Texas and Oklahoma looks devastating.

  25. Texas Totebaggers — If you have a chance, please check in and let us know you’re OK. We’re thinking about you.

  26. We are fine in my neck of the woods (northwest of Houston). School is closed. I had to be at a medical procedure this morning, so we were on the highway before 6:30 and traffic was significantly lighter than usual. There are lots of tree limbs down on roads and in parking lots due to very high winds.

    The area they are describing on the news as being particularly hard hit is much closer to where Houston (the poster, not the city) is.

    I have a high school friend who lives near the Blanco river that flooded. She has posted images of her neighborhood, including a house that is at a 90 degree rotation from normal.

    So on the positive side, the drought is over.

  27. Just a reminder to those who are or will be dealing with new drivers. Be sure to remind them of the dangers of driving through standing or flowing water!

    http://www.weather.com/safety/floods/news/flash-flooding-vehicle-danger-20140717

    Also, many kids don’t properly weigh concerns for their personal safety so I’d also remind of the substantial risk of catastrophic vehicle damage caused by water. If, as an example, a car engine ingests water it can cause hydraulic lock which will destroy the engine.

  28. Austin, I am very sorry for your loss. Please remember all the good times.

  29. Austin, so very sorry for your loss. However, I’m glad that the end was peaceful for your parent.

    We’re OK over here. The storm was fierce last night and some highways are still under water. Work has a delayed start time of noon and schools are closed.

  30. Wow. So sorry for your loss Austin. My thoughts are with you.

    Glad our Texan posters are ok. Wierd weather everywhere.

  31. @Austin — Please let me add my belated condolences; I just now saw the Monday post.

    My Monday was spent, appropriately, thinking about my grandfather who was shot down in WWII. My dad tracked down and forwarded a lot more information about his story, including the official reports, a story one of the crewmen who survived told the newspaper after he got back across the lines, etc. — it’s amazing what is available on the web when you know where to look. So I read it all, and it made me sad. He was a hero; his B-17 was shot twice by a ME-262 (one of the earliest ones), and he stayed at his post and held the plane level long enough for 5 crewmen to get out. And yet, he was just one of so many heroes lost just on that one day — there’s his name, one guy on a page-long list of that day’s MIAs, all with similar stories. Meanwhile, one of the guys who got out was captured, escaped from a POW camp, joined up with the Russian army, finally reconnected with the American army, and helped take a town with hundreds of German prisoners — all just trying to make his way back to Camp Lucky Strike so he could be treated, debriefed, and shipped home for his 60 days of R&R. Because that was all just What You Did in a war zone — you did whatever it took to get home.

    The lists and the forms and the stores brought home the magnitude of the loss more than just seeing the big swath of crosses. They weren’t a marble monument to bravery and sacrifice; they weren’t Rambo or some unattainable Other; they were people — teens and twenties; married and single; fresh off the farm or out of the city — all just people with stories to tell and adventures to have. And they never got to.

  32. Austin, I didn’t re-check the post on Monday. I am so sorry for your loss.

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