25 May 2009

Decoration Day

My dad often referred to Memorial Day as Decoration Day. I used to just think a lot of people just used that phrase, not realizing that it was because it really used to be called that! I, along with many others, have always thought of Memorial Day as the beginning of summertime. From what I understand all things to do with memorial day are to do with honoring our veterans who have died, mostly in combat. What I don't understand is when, how and why did this holiday become about decorating graves of all we have known and some we haven't but feel obligated by ancestry. Now, most of you already know that I am a family history consultant and that I love my ancestry and the study of all things ancestry in general. With all this in mind, I find that the commercialism of feeling like one has to buy flowers and place them on all these graves is very overwhelming, especially for those with large families, like mine...and that is NOT even counting the countless friends along the way! For example, if money were no object or we had unlimited supply of flowers, these are the cemeteries we would visit every year, at least this one day:

Larken Sunset Gardens in Sandy, UT: my dad, my grandma, my grandpa, my uncle, my aunt, my brother, my sisters ex-fiance (7)

West Jordan Cemetery in West Jordan, UT: my uncle, my cousin, a brother of a former best friend from childhood (3)

Redwood Memorial Estates in Taylorsville, UT: two of my uncles, my aunt, two cousins and several friends (5+)

Salt Lake City Cemetery in Salt Lake City, UT: my best friends baby, a former neighbor friend, a grandpa (3)

East Lawn Memorial Hills in Provo, UT: my cousin and his grandma (2)

American Fork Cemetery in American Fork, UT: my friends mom, an uncle, aunt and their son (4)

Timpanogos Memorial Gardens in Orem, UT: two uncles, grandma, and an aunt (4)

...here is where I lose count, but I think you get the idea:

Orem City Cemetery in Orem, UT: many friends from school and neighborhood

Provo City Cemetery in Provo, UT: grandparents and many other family and a few friends

Manti City Cemetery in Manti, UT: my grandma, great grandparents many aunts and uncles and cousins

I think I will stop the specific list there, but I could go on with cemeteries in davis county, utah...new mexico...gunnison city, lehi city, etc etc.

Now, mind you, I do believe in honoring those that have gone before us, but I think that the original meaning of this holiday has almost disappeared completely and, in its own way, been taken over by a form of commercialism. Between the obligation to buy and place flowers on so many graves and the BBQs, the meaning is lost to many. Do your kids know the real meaning behind Memorial Day? I encourage us to continue remembering all those who have gone before us, but also help everyone remember why we truly celebrate Decoration Day!

With all of this in mind, I would like to thank my aunt for sending me the following the pic just over a month ago. Then, I would like to thank a new found cousin, Danny, for emailing this to me a week or so ago. You both have amazing timing

From Danny: I found this tid-bit online and decided to you. I also found out that Jesus died in Saipan on July 18, 1944 and was buried in Puowaina Hawaii, Military Cemetary. He was born June 23, 1914. He was only 20 years old son of Leandro Trujillo and Angelica Salamon (Sullivan) of Guadalupita New Mexico. Leandro was the son of Jesus Trujillo and Manuelita Pacheco. Angelica was the daughter of John (Jack)P. Sullivan of Missouri, and Guadalupe Romero all of Coyote (Guadalupe) New Mexico

[Jesus would be my great uncle]

Oh, and know that I won't hold it against you if you do place the flowers on graves, we still do it, when we can, too. Maybe it is my guilt of not doing so more often that lead to this post? I don't know. Oh, and more important, I won't hold it against you for the BBQs, either, in fact, I won't turn down an invite, even! As long as we all remember to stop at 3pm and have that one minute of silence and truly remember to focus on the real purpose of this holiday!

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