A charcoal-grilled hamburger (no gas cooking here), potato salad, a cold beer, rhubarb crisp — ah, now it’s summer. All on our newly built deck. I doubt that nowhere in the world does anyone glory in a sunny warm day more than in Minnesota, and especially after this past winter, the longest the natives remember for a long time. I remember previous years that we hoped for at least one dry cookout-worthy day during the Memorial Day weekend, since this part of May is typically rainy. Not so this year — the lawn is already crunchy dry, and we’re hoping for rain. Not a good omen for the farmers!
According to the History Channel site, Memorial Day was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former sailors and soldiers. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May. In my memory, while we celebrate the memory of veterans’ sacrifices, we also decorate family graves on Memorial Day. And so, this weekend we ran between multiple cemeteries, placing decorations and flowers.
There are two constants in almost all small towns around here . . . a library (of course) and some kind of park that memorializes local war heroes. Just across the state border in my hometown, there is a bench remembering my cousin, killed in Vietnam. Also a wall, that looks not so strangely like one in Washington D.C., that honors all local guys and gals who’ve served in the military service.