Memorial Day, 2012
Today is a holiday here in the US. It’s Memorial Day, the day we remember those who have given their lives in service to this country. Mid-day, around 2:00, I decided to walk over to the Presidio Graveyard, to sit for a moment in remembrance. I’d read a few things online about the holiday, and so many comments on these articles and posts were political in nature; thoughts about war and whether it was necessary, about which president had caused the most deaths, etc., and I wanted to just get away from all of that and go remember the men and women who have died in service.
The very odd thing is that I couldn’t find the graveyard. I must have made a wrong turn, somewhere. In doing so, I came upon the Inn at the Presidio, a new Inn on the grounds that is stunningly beautiful. I went inside and roamed around to see the Inn.
Alongside me was a woman who was also looking at the Inn. She was dressed, beautifully, mostly in black with a touch of red and yellow, and wearing a dressy hat, the kind women used to wear. She doesn’t live in San Francisco, but she has come to the city many times on Memorial Day to place flowers on the graves of three of her family members – her uncle, grandfather and grandmother. She said she’s been coming for a number of years. She had just come from the graveyard. She seemed introspective and had a gracefulness about her.
As I headed back outside to go to the graveyard, I thought about this woman. I was taken by her dedication to remembering these family members; that she flies from out of town to visit their graves and place flowers. I wondered about how our holidays and rituals can move away from the very reason they were first established and become somewhat generic in nature…about BBQs and baseball and getting away.
For whatever reason (if any), even though I headed out to find it again, I never did find the graveyard. I felt a little lost, something I rarely am with regard to finding places. I’m usually the one that can find anything simply by my internal radar. I ended up walking for a while, but felt lost amongst all the white wood and red-tiled buildings. I’m struck by the fact I got lost; yet, what seems to have really impacted me, was this woman and her family.
Many times when I write a post, at the very end everything makes sense. I get to the end and the ribbon to wrap it all up appears out of nowhere. No ribbon, here. No sense-making.
Perhaps, my visit was more about considering what it means to remember and to witness how these deaths have touched life. I just keep remembering her graciousness and the very clear way she loved those who died serving.
She touched me. Her graciousness touched me.