Monday, May 30, 2011

The Flags

I know, I know... I started this blog for the passing of information and seasonal recipes, but, this is part of life that needs to be shared with others.
We were fortunate to have purchased a small end-of-group row-home right outside of Baltimore,in the town of Catonsville. We were even more fortunate to have what I often,jokingly, referred to for many years as the marble farm in our backyard.
I remember the first time I saw the house, and the view from the middle bedroom window. The American flag that flew over the Veteran's National Cemetery was visible from the doorway of what would become the boys bedroom's. I knew that those bedrooms in our small home would be the safe places for my boys for many years to come. The bedrooms with the view of the American flag flying high over the final resting place of so many soldiers.
Many people were amazed to know that we purchased a house with a grand view of a cemetery. Some called it creepy. It never bothered us though, we liked our open sky view and the marble reminders of freedom from our kitchen deck.
The first Memorial Day in our home, I didn't think it would strike me as it did. With toddlers grabbing tight to wrought iron rails, and holding my baby, we watched swarms of families arrive at the cemetery on the Thursday prior to Memorial Day. Little boys to almost grown men, ready to honor those who had fallen,by placing a tiny 4" x 6" flag in the front of the freshly scrubbed and washed arched marble markers of each soldier who had paid an ultimate price with the giving of their life.
My children grew up watching this tradition of our local scout troops. The boys could hardly wait to become a part of this tradition themselves. They did become cub scouts and did get to poke flag stakes into the ground before the markers of men and women who died for our freedom. I don't know what went through their minds as they did this, but I remember watching them and thinking that they too could be soldiers one day.
Twenty years have passed by in a flash it seems, and one has served in the Army, another is serving in Iraq on this 2011 Memorial Day. The baby that I held in my arms 20 years ago will be leaving home later this year to serve in the Air Force. Time has flown by since we first watched little flags wave in front of those markers the first time.
I no longer wonder what was going through the minds of my three little energized boys as they placed flags, I now know what went through their minds.