A tale of two Memorial Days
I prefer to work Memorial Day. I don’t mean any disrespect by it – actually, it’s quite the opposite.
The nature of my work – real life storytelling, really – means that on Memorial Day, I get the opportunity to really focus on what the day is truly about.
So while a lot of people packed up for their three-day holiday to go camping or boating or hiking or traveling – or all four – I stuck close to home in anticipation of working Monday.
It was busy this past weekend. As the unofficial kickoff to summer, Memorial Day seems to immediately signal motorists everywhere to start their engines and get on the roads. Every other vehicle on Interstate 70 seemed to be a gargantuan motor home hauling ATVs, bicycles and boats. The Hot Springs Pool was packed to the gills with people swimming, sunning, sliding and diving. Kayaks, rowing frames and rafts topped more than one SUV on shuttles to area rivers. It was all very festive and fun.
The mood was a lot different Monday morning at Rosebud Cemetery in south Glenwood Springs, where dozens of cars were driving up and down rows of headstones. Families gathered at graves and placed small American flags and flowers in and on the ground. I attended a memorial service with about 100 people as they paid their respects to relatives and friends. There was singing, speeches and a rendition of “Taps.” It made me think of my own father, who served in the Navy during World War II. He died recently, and not in battle, but it still made me think of him – and miss him.
Over at Sayre Park later in the day, a smaller group of people – about 50 or so – gathered around the park gazebo, which was dressed up in red, white and blue flags and banners for a “Support the Troops” rally. While vacationers drove back and forth on Grand Avenue, the crowd waved as two National Guard helicopters flew by directly overhead, listened to four high school boys sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” a cappella, and applauded Jeannine Ford-Artaz as she explained to the audience how many members of her family have served in the military, and how much she loved everyone that took the time to attend the rally.
My feelings of reverence dissipated somewhat when I got to the Hot Springs Pool to do a little business story on the Memorial Day weekend. The pool was packed with humanity. An occasional child or adult had a T-shirt with an American flag or slogan written on it, but for the most part, it didn’t much seem like too many people were using the day to think of the millions of men and women who have died fighting for our right to call the U.S. home – even if we sometimes disagree with our country’s policies and get frustrated by its direction.
That’s why I like working Memorial Day. It gives me a reason to go to a cemetery and think of my dad – and of a lot of other people’s dads, moms, grandpas and grandmas – and how much we all – myself included – take for granted the rights and the freedoms we have by living in this country – even the right and the freedom to disagree on how it’s being run.
This weekend, my husband Erik and I went to put out our American flag, and discovered it was too worn out to display. Erik and I sometimes disagree about how the country is run, but we still are able to agree to disagree and we’re able to have lively discussions (that’s what I like to call them anyway!) about the state of the union. But one thing we did agree on was the importance of buying a new flag and hanging it out there for everyone passing by to see.
Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518
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