Friday, May 22, 2009

Visiting Dad

Prior to moving to North Carolina, I would spend my Memorial Day weekend traveling all over the bay area from one cemetery to the other. I would decorate the graves of relatives with flowers and flags, contemplate the significance of the day and appreciate what each of these people meant to me.

Visiting my dad’s grave is always particularly hard. I missed so much time with him when I was young- then he was taken from this world before either of us had a chance to make up time.

I would take my son with me- graveyard hopping… and we always noticed that many of the departed did not receive flowers or have their weeds pulled on a regular basis. We would walk around and read all the headstones –wondering about the lives snuffed out too soon and those who made the centennial and received their shout out from Willard Scott.

My son learned to appreciate the significance of Memorial Day with me- and his first year as a U.S. Marine he was one of several that participated in the “Flags In” ceremony at Arlington-placing a flag and saluting hundreds of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen.

I was proud of him and glad he was able to carry on our tradition, on a grander scale.

I have not visited my dad’s grave since my return to California. I think I’m the only one in my family that visits him. I’ll go this weekend. Maybe my son will take a ride with me and place a flag on Papa Charlie’s grave- a nod from one veteran to another- grandson to grandfather. I think it will mean more to both of us this year.

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