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Leaf Pattern Design

Happy Memorial Day

Three years after the Civil War ended, the Grand Army of the Republic established Decoration Day as a time to decorate the graves of war dead with flowers.

Over time this evolved into Memorial Day.

Decoration Day

by James Lowell Hall

It’s a long walk up the hill on Sundays,

but peaceful to sit with you, Son.

Today’s a bit more festive,

the peonies unfurl, Mom’s loaded down

with flowers: bleeding hearts, phlox, ferns, and poppies.

Arrived early for the parade and found

Prairie Rest Cemetery bedecked with flags,

Stars and Stripes on poles up and down the drive,

and flowers, flowers everywhere,

people wearing poppies, decorating

graves of kin, some still hoping

for returning soldiers. Marching in they came,

William Hobson hobbling in the lead,

Delavan’s last survivor of the Civil War.

All stood in honor to salute, or place a hand

across their hearts. Spanish-American War

vets followed, and your platoon from World War I.

Taps played first in Prairie Rest, and echoed

from a cornfield nearby.

There wasn’t an eye stayed dry.

Scouts led the pledge of allegiance, followed by

Ray junior reciting The Gettysburg Address:

that these dead shall not have died in vain—

that government of the people, by the people,

for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Marguerite’s tearing eyes shone proud.

Things break’n up now, another Decoration

Day is done. It’s empty at home without you,

Son. Next Sunday Mom and I will return to sit

a spell, after the long walk back up the hill.


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