In Remembrance …

Memorial Day. A designated Federal holiday, the name signifies a specific day set aside annually to memorialize and honor those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Earliest observances of the day pre-date the Civil War.

In my younger years, I recall hearing the day referred to as “Decoration Day.” That was understood to mean my relatives were headed to the cemetery to decorate graves with flowers and flags … and occasionally, a sprinkling of tears. I don’t recall the decorations being placed exclusively on graves of military deceased, though I admit, I probably wasn’t paying close attention.

Continue reading “In Remembrance …”

Remember Me

Poet Christina Rossetti wrote a beautiful poem titled Remember. Today, our annual day of remembrance signified as Memorial Day, we honor those who died in service to our country.

My grandfather (Charles Frederick West, 1887-1932) didn’t die on the battlefield but his exposure to mustard gas in the trenches of World War I brought about his death after years of suffering. His grandfather (Samuel P. West, 1832-1864) died during the battle at Spotsylvania Courthouse (Virginia). Both of these men left wives and children behind. (In the picture below, my grandfather appears at right with three soldiers from his company.) FredFrankWestAs I research who I am through the annals from which I came, it’s impossible not to notice the stout character of the men in my past and the stalwart resolve of the women they left behind. Men do not go off to war without acknowledging the stark reality they may not come home. Women (whether mothers, wives or both) can’t fail but know, when releasing their men to serve, that some will not return. Continue reading “Remember Me”