This Monday, May 31st, is Memorial Day. In 1868, our country set aside a day at the end of May to decorate the graves of those who died in war, with small flags and with flowers. Many people take time on Memorial Day to remember loved ones who have died, to share their stories and memories, and to put flowers on their graves. It is a day when we honor the memories of those who lived before us.
It is always interesting to visit a cemetery and look at the graves of soldiers. If you visit a cemetery, take some time to look at the gravestones that have American flags on them; those flags tell you that the person was a soldier, a sailor, an airman, a Marine or a member of the Coast Guard. If they served in war there may be a star on their grave, as there is in the photo above. The gravestone tells us that the soldier who was buried there was a Medical Technician, and assisted doctors during World War II.
In church this Sunday we will be remembering those who died in the past year. We will also be sharing stories and memories about Joe Mechem, who died one week ago.
On Wednesday, as I was thinking about Memorial Day, I read the sad news that children’s author Eric Carle had died. Every child and adult I know has read The Very Hungry Caterpillar – the story of how a very tiny caterpillar grows and changes and ultimately becomes a beautiful butterfly.
The article I read talked about Eric Carle’s life, his experiences and his art. His family was German and he spent most of his childhood in Germany. He once told this story about his childhood:
“ My father used to take me for walks in the woods. He would peel back the bark of a tree and show me the creatures who lived there. I have very fond memories of these special times with my father and in a way I honor him with my books and my interest in animals and insects.”
When asked why The Very Hungry Caterpillar was so popular, Mr Carl said: “I think it is a book of hope.”
As I read about Eric Carle’s life, I thought about our connection to people we have never met, and how important they can be to our everyday lives. It is easy to forget that every story we read, every picture we see, and every chair we sit in was made by someone.
Take some time this weekend to talk about people who made a difference in your life. They might be people you remember, relatives you never met, or the person who wrote your favorite book or favorite song. They might be people who pray for you.
Here are some things you might enjoy doing this Memorial Day weekend, as you share your memories:
❤ Look at old family photos together, and share memories and stories.
❤ If the sun comes out on Monday, you might want to take a walk in Mount Adnah Cemetery or in a cemetery that is near your home. Look at the graves with flags on them and at the graves with stars. Each stone can tell you something about the person who is buried there. Look at the very old gravestones in the cemetery. Some are over one hundred years old! What is the oldest stone you can find?
❤Say a little prayer of thanks for your family, and for memories and stories.
Every person who ever lived has a story. Every person was loved by friends and family. Every person was and is loved by God. Their stories of those who have died are now part of our history; the things they did touched our lives in ways we will never know. They may have been soldiers, firemen, doctors, writers, mothers or fathers. They may have built the house you are living in. They may have walked on the same street or beach that you walk on. They may even have attended the Annisquam Village Church!
Reverend Sue will say a prayer during worship on Sunday. This prayer reminds us that: “…nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God.”
As you celebrate Memorial Day and the week ahead, remember that God’s love is always with you.