It is not always possible to pay respects in person, so we hope that this small token will help.
Offer a gift of comfort and beauty to a family suffering from loss.
A gift to your family, sparing them hard decisions at an emotional time.
Youth Essay Honorable Mention
1st PLACE | 2nd PLACE | 3rd PLACE | Honorable Mention
Written By: Katherine Matthews
Filling my lungs with the cool autumn air, I retreated from the far comer of my father's bright yellow jeep. That fleeting moment before my feet hit the ground with a sickening crunch, I began to feel restless with anxiety. Moments later my father exited behind me with my younger sister in tow and together we began our descent through silent gravestones, each beholding a flag waving with pride. At the end of the grassy aisle, we stopped our grave dodging to look down at the intricate lettering of my mother's name. A woman who had once served in the armed forces but now lay beneath a pile of rock and soil. Soil, that with a small kick of my shoe could easily be sent flying into the air. With much effort I raised my eyes from their resting place pointed at my ratty tennis shoes to reveal not one, but row upon row and hill upon hill of deceased soldiers buried in the packed earth, with only a standing white slab of granite and some scarce flowers that had began to wilt away weeks ago to be the only sign that anyone had ever been buried there in the first place. Men and women, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and sons and daughters, each with a story to tell if only for the miniscule detail that they aren't alive anymore to tell them. For many soldiers, a visit at the old cemetery is a hard thing to come by, but on Memorial Day such a thing is made true for every soldier.
For my father and me, a visit to my mother's grave was something small we could do to honor Memorial Day. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was called for a nationwide day of remembrance of comrades who had fallen to death do to the latest rebellion of the 1800s and was to be celebrated on the 30th of May each year (History.com). Now celebrated on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day has become iconic not for its original purpose of giving families time to mourn, weep, and remember their lost relatives as well as friends, but for giving everyone the opportunity to relax and enjoy for one more day on top of their weekend leisure. When sitting poolside thinking of the summer vacation soon to come, it can be hard to remember what it is that we should really be doing on that last Monday in May (Berenson, Tessa). Rest assured, there are still people that continue to keep the original spirit of Memorial Day going, such as me and some of my relatives, who believe that memorial day is a day that should not be taken lightly. Believing also, that if for only a few minutes of their time, people could call it upon themselves to go out and place a flower or a flag on each gravestone that they see which hides the body of a service warrior who had fought to keep our nation protected from the troubles that have continued to bombard the precious soils of our land, they and everyone else calls home.