We all know I despise Christmas, right? I think that has been well-established on this blog before. So...what holiday is my favorite? Truth is, I have two. The first is Black Friday. And yes, in my book, Black Friday is a holiday. Thanksgiving leftovers (namely turkey sandwiches), an insane amount of shopping, and everything in stores more than reasonably priced? Love it.
And my second favorite holiday is today, Memorial Day. Now I need to clarify which Memorial Day I'm talking about for you, my readers, as there are two kinds of Memorial Days...the East Coast Memorial Day and the West Coast Memorial Day (and East Coast Readers as well as West Coast Readers). You see, out west, Memorial Day is weird. No parades, no special sales, and people gather- in the masses- IN CEMETERIES. Sure, I get going to headstones of your loved ones and leaving flowers. But out there, it's weird. People take their camp chairs, picnic blankets, food, gas grills, radios....and sit around grave sites all day long. I kid you not. It's freaking weird.
It's the East Coast tradition that I love. And I'm especially partial to the celebration that happens in my tiny hometown of Bloomfield. Bloomfield is so small, it kind of feels like one big family. So the downtown Memorial Day celebration is like a big family picnic. First, everyone lines Main Street and South Ave (the Thomas Family typically congregates at the corner of the two by Pickle Park and the funeral home) (the Steeles are usually less strategically sitting by the old Headlee house which is silly because the marching band never plays down that stretch. They do their drum line thing until they round the corner past the fire hall.)
Then after the parade, the entire town heads to Elton Park for the presentation of a wreath at the memorial statue, the reciting of the Gettysburg Address by a 5th grader, and a 21-gun salute. And while all of this is going on, you can typically get hots and hamburgers at the Methodist Church parking lot, or chicken barbecue at the Congregational Church across the street.
The cemetery is, like out west, full of flowers and those remembering their loved ones (Military personnel or not). However, I feel that a much more reverent attitude is present here. People go in, reflect, place wreaths and flowers in remembrance, and quietly leave, allowing others to do the same. It's not a party, it's peaceful. Out west, it's just weird.
However you spend it, I hope your Memorial Day is wonderful and that you take a few moments to reflect and remember those who have served our country.