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peony 3I was just over visiting bright and early with The Pickled Pastor and reading her delightful post about peonies. She stirred up a lot of memories for me about Memorial Day — or Decoration Day as we called it in Ohio when I was growing up.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States originally established for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans — established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. (Wikipedia)

That tradition has grown now to include all loved ones who have moved on to the next leg of their journey. And I agree with the “reassignment.” I think all of life is a battle (which encompasses good times, as well as bad) and everyone who “falls in battle” is a casualty. Whether you credit it to Plato, Philo of Alexandria, Ian MacLaren, or John Watson, someone said: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” No matter where they were “stationed,” to me everyone is a hero at the end of their life and deserves flowers.

And yet…

I don’t remember the exact quote, but Scottish theologian William Barclay said in one of his commentaries that it was a shame we wait to place flowers on loved one’s graves when they should have been given to them in real life. That thought has always stuck with me. Maybe we need a day in this country to give flowers to those we love who are STILL on “active duty?”

Have a memorable Memorial Day!