Memorial Day

Recalling ‘Decoration Day’


Many of us remember our family gathering for Memorial Day when we were children. We would spend the day at the family gravesite, cleaning and weeding and leaving flowers. Then we would picnic, right beside the graves – that always kind of felt creepy to me. 

When I was a boy, Memorial Day was still known as Decoration Day. The observance began in the years following the Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865. The Civil War claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, and from it our national cemeteries were established. 

Memorial Day became more personal for me when I became a soldier, and began to realize the cost of war. I have been honored to walk many national cemeteries across our land. These are truly sacred grounds. I have also walked many local cemeteries, looking for the gravestones of veterans. For the past seven years I have been a mentor at the Pleasant Hill School District, and I began taking the boys across the highway to the cemetery the week before Memorial Day. We would look for the veterans’ gravestones, and if there wasn’t a U.S. flag, we would add one. 

The Creswell VFW will post flags along Oregon Ave. and I hope that each of you will fly your flag, visit gravesites, and teach your children and grandchildren to “thank God that such as these lived.”


Bob Beck, LTC, U.S. Army, Retired



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