In my town there's a parade. My daughter played the flute in her high school band, and every year she was mortified at having to get dressed in her red band jacket and bow tie and march. It was either beastly hot or raining. There'd be a flag raising (including the POW/MIA from the Vietnam War flag), pauses in front of our World War I and Civil War memorials, and a parade to the cemetery where the little ceremony was always heartfelt and moving.
Our town cemetery (photo by Bill Ilott) is beautiful. It has a pond and winding paths, and the oldest part dates back to the early 1700s. On Memorial Day the dogwoods and cherry blossoms and tulips are blooming and the pond is teeming with geese and their goslings, and turtles jockey for position, sunning themselves on the rocks.
What happens on Memorial Day in your neck of the woods?
LUCY BURDETTE: We have a beautiful old cemetery in our town too, with stones as old as the 1700's. There's a small parade from downtown Madison to the cemetery and a lovely service.
This year John's and my wedding anniversary falls on Monday and we'll celebrating that, at least by eating something good:). Later on in June, we'll go to New York for the real celebration. We're already tussling about whether I can hit the same two places I like to go every time (the Strand Bookstore and Eataly), or whether I have to try something new:).
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I always cry at the parades. So emotional. We have no idea. Boston Common is filled with American flags, one for each person from Massachusetts who's died in a war. It is a SEA of flags.
We'll be home, and I think one must have grilled-out hamburgers. I'll also be working, gotta do my words. On that lighter note, we can now wear white pants, and have gins and tonics.
Happy Anniversary, Roberta and John! What number?
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Yes, happy anniversary, Roberta and John! Love your description of the "sea of flags", Hank. It made me think of the time I went to the American Cemetery outside Cambridge (UK, not Boston!) It is a sea of white crosses on a curving sweep of green lawn. So beautiful, so moving.
The big Memorial Day thing in our town is a charity fund-raiser bike race on Friday. It's called Bike the Bricks and goes through our historic town square. There are food vendors and music and lots of fun activities, but unfortunately it was canceled this year due to our horrible weather.
Today, I'm hoping for weather nice enough to cook hotdogs, and I'm thinking a big watermelon and some of Lucy's potato salad would make it perfect. And other than that, I, like everyone else, apparently, will be working...
RHYS BOWEN: I'll be missing Memorial Day this year. I'm in Tuscany, leading a writers' workshop. Back home my church choir is always asked to sing at a special service at a local cemetery, but I always find it superficial, somehow. What does move me is to walk through military cemeteries and see those names and the ages, 18, 19... Not much older than my grandson.
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Happy anniversary, Roberta and John! I'll be working on my novel, THE PARIS SPY — but I'll be thinking especially of the men and women of the SOE, of the French Resistance. In particular, I'll be remembering Lieutenant Henri Karcher—his memorial was right outside my hotel in Paris and was the first thing I saw when I started my research. I took it as a good omen.
HALLIE: Let us know what Memorial Day is like in your neck of the woods, while we remember the soldiers who didn't come back and are grateful for the ones who did.