My cousin, Cameron, holds a flag during the ceremony.

This week we celebrated Memorial Day. I was home in Indiana for the day and attended a ceremony at Valhalla Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington. I almost didn’t get there but I’m sure glad I went.

The crowd was sparser than I’d have though — mostly full of elderly veterans — many wearing their veteran hats or pins that indicated which branch of the service they were in. 

My Grandpa stands as the Army veterans are recognized.

As I watched old men steady themselves on canes, lean on sons and daughters in order to stand up and say the pledge, I felt a strong sense of awe. These were the greatest generation. Where were the young people at this ceremony? Why didn’t more people feel it necessary to honor this day?

Above, my Grandpa, Richard Allen, stood as they called out for the Army veterans. It was cool to sit by his side as he could be proud of this part of his life.

In another part of the cemetery, we visited my other Grandfather’s grave.  He’s been gone awhile but he was also a veteran — of the U.S. Navy. It’s kind of neat that most of my family is from Bloomington, that there are graves of family members so close by. (Note: the last name is actually spelled wrong on that grave and was never fixed — crazy!)

Sitting amongst the graves and the flags made it all real. I don’t let myself think too hard about cemeteries. If I do, they creep me out. All those people — so many lives, words, loves, hopes, dreams, fears — just buried and done with. It’s scary to think how quickly it all goes — making it that much more meaningful that so many willingly risk their precious lives for the rest of us. 

I met my Dad and grandparents there. Not sure what face he’s making there but that’s me and Dad 🙂 We listened to a couple veterans speak, put our hands on our hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance, stood in honor as someone sang the Star-Spangled Banner, and bowed our heads to pray for families and give thanks for our freedoms.

They played taps and we said our goodbyes. This post is a little late but…I’m glad my Dad convinced me to attend the ceremony. There’s no reason we all can’t take a few minutes and dedicate them to those who’ve given the greatest sacrifice of all.

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