Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day falls on the last Monday of May and is a day to remember ancestors, family members, loved ones, friends, and neighbors who have given the ultimate sacrifice: dying in wars. Initially known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.

Memorial Day is now celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. It is also customary for the president or vice-president to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. About 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually.

Now the battle hymns are playing, report of shots not far away
No prayer, no promise, no hand of God could save their souls that April day
Tell their wives that they fought bravely as they lay them in their graves

As the train pulled in the station and the families gathered ‘round
You could hear the first car echo with a loud triumphant sound
But the last car it was silent, they listened close but they couldn’t hear
It was laden down with coffins, that didn't speak and couldn’t cheer

From  “Broken Hymns” by Dropkick Murphys

The reason we observe the Memorial Day holiday is to pay tribute to those who have passed on while preserving the peace for our nation, so that we can enjoy the blessings of freedom and liberty. Thank you, each and every one of you.

I would also like to take a moment to honor some of my family and friends that have passed on – people that I think of frequently.

I will miss the guys that I worked with at Koos – Larry, Cecil, Jesse, Ziggy and Gary. They were all part of a very special fraternity.

Kathy and Karen were two wonderful ladies that were taken from this world much too early. I was blessed to be have been their friend while they were still with us.

Uncle Dino and Uncle Jimmy were two of the kindest people that I ever had the honor of knowing. I will never forget sobbing outside of Holy Rosary Church after Uncle Jimmy’s funeral while hugging his son David.

Dad and Uncle Dino
On the Matrisch side of my family, there is Grandma ‘Trisch, Uncle Eddie, Uncle Wayne and his son Davie. My cousin Davie was a kind soul that also left this earth tragically at a young age. They are gone but will never be forgotten.

Members of the Vagnoni clan that are no longer with us are Grandma and Grandma ‘Noni, Auntie Bay and my cousin John Dean. It’s hard to describe how closely knit the Vagnoni family is. It is a true blessing to be part of it.

Growing up, John Dean was like my third brother. We played, fought and got in trouble together. Twice we unwittingly attempted to burn down the family “cottage” at Camp Lake. Fortunately, we were unsuccessful. Unfortunately he is no longer here to laugh about those days.

I have fond memories of all these precious people. They each played a role in my life, some more than others. They are all missed very dearly, but none quite as much as the most beautiful man I ever knew – my Dad. I can’t put into words how much I miss him. It hurts too much when I try. I love you so much, Dad.
Dear God, please remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again; may you bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence.
Have a happy and blessed Memorial Day and please remember why we celebrate this holiday. Until next time…from the booth.

8 comments:

Alaska Karen said...

Paul,
With tears in my eyes. Thank you for a loving tribute. Peace, brother.

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Thank you Karen, I appreciate the kind words.

J. Kwiatkowski-Schuler said...

What a wonderful post. It makes me want to appreciate my family and friends out loud, while they can still hear me!

bev (beryl cooper) said...

last bit bought tears to me .very good paul x

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Thank you, Julie and Bev. I think that we are all guilty of "not knowing what we got 'til it's gone."

sue said...

Well written Paul, and very true - we are all guilty of not knowing what we have until it is gone. Live for today as we never know what tomorrow may bring.

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Sue, you are a wise lady. That is going to be the topic of my next blog. Are you clairvoyant? :)

sue said...

Transparent ! (According to the see through blouse) but not clairvoyant. But it is very very true - never put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today.