Real Wealth Society

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I Have Been Thinking About "Holidays" By Fred Cederholm

Column for on/after May 21st

I’ve been thinking about holidays. Actually I’ve been thinking about Memorial Day, Woodlawn Cemetery, preparations, plantings, flags, prayers, and observances. The word “holiday” has its origins in the words holy and day. Holidays are more than a day off from work or our normal routines. They are a time for reflection, a time for gatherings, a time for fellowship, and a time for observances

You see Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. It is observed on the last Monday in May. It began to honor the soldiers who died in the American Civil War, and after World War I - “the war to end all wars,” it was expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. Now it is a time to honor all the veteran service men and women – the living and the dead - and reflect on their sacrifices in the preservation of the freedoms enjoyed by US/us all.

Creston’s Woodlawn Cemetery is about a mile-and-a-half North of town. The setting is truly bucolic, beautiful, and peaceful. It is surrounded by fields and pastures. Nearby is a little stream and Brody’s Grove, the site of the original settlement before the town was relocated south when the first railroad line came through. There are veterans from the War of 1812, the American Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam buried there.

While there are many visitors at Woodlawn every day, this will be a busy week of preparations out there anticipating the Memorial Day “holy day” next Monday. The graves will be trimmed, weeded, planted, and mulched. The flags at the main pole will be replaced. Over the weekend, small individual flags will appear near the grave headstones of every veteran. And, the “Avenue of the Flags” at the entrance will materialize.

Virtually every community across this land will be holding their special ceremonies on May 29th. The main flags will be flow at half-staff from dawn until noon. At 3:00 PM there is National Moment of Remembrance. No two observances are alike. I am particularly proud of the efforts made by the locals of my little community of 500-plus residents. Because this is Creston’s sesquicentennial year, Memorial Day 2006 will be celebrated at several locations.

The Sesquicentennial Committee will dedicate the “Citizenship Square” green space between the Village Hall and the Fire Department at 10:00 AM. An unveiling of a Lincoln Highway mural on the Fogleman Building across Main Street will follow. The Memorial Day service, dedicated this year to US Air Force Lt. Col. Alan Erickson (Vietnam – deceased Jan. 13, 1999), begins at the fire station at 10:30. The ceremony will move to Woodlawn for the roll call of the deceased veterans, taps, and a bagpipe salute. There will be a brief walk-about the cemetery before the crowd returns to the fire station for a pot luck dinner. There will be a lot of food, wonderful fellowship, heartfelt hugs, and tears - of loss, love, and remembrance. After all of this, there will be the traditional caravan of vehicles making pilgrimages to several of the other cemeteries in the area. Little Creston’s Memorial Day is truly a DAY of observances.

Reflecting on our service men and women should be a perpetual/ongoing ritual. Every Sunday my congregation at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Creston ends our prayer petitions with the following words: “Today and this week we remember: (names of certain locals with special needs), our congregation, our community, for those serving our country and their families, our President and other world leaders, for world and personal peace.”

If you can’t join us in Creston, please make the effort to find out the times/ locations of the Memorial Day observances in your area and participate in them. TH*NK about the young men and women who have served (and are serving) this nation. Remember them and their families. We enjoy our freedoms because of their cumulative and ongoing sacrifices. Seriously reflect on the “2300-plus casualties” since the declaration of “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.
Copyright 2006 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved.

To “audit” this column and to learn more about the subjects discussed, please check out:

Memorial Day

Origins of Memorial Day

The History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day – Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

THINK PROGRESS “Mission Accomplished” – by the Numbers (A cumulative recap of the costs of the Bush Iraqi action in terms of casualties, injuries, and dollars)

The Harring Report- a weekly update of the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Warning: this presentation and commentary is graphically honest


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