Yesterday was Memorial Day again. I remember that we always called it Decoration Day. My grandmother often said that they used to decorate the family graves at the end of May. Her grandparents were buried just down the road from the log cabin where my grandmother was born and raised. So it would be an easy walk for them to tend to the graves.

The rest of the family are buried all over the place. Putting flowers on all of their graves would take more than one day a year. I don’t remember my grandmother or anyone else in the family doing anything to celebrate the day. It was just another day, no different than any other.

People have been decorating graves for thousands of years, with or without an official day dedicated to it. From simple flowers to the treasures of the pyramids, we have a need to do what we can to ensure that our loved ones know that we remember them and that we will do what we can to make the journey from life to death a little easier.

The first recorded Memorial Day in our country was way back in 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina. Think about what was going on. The Civil War ended. All those people fought for an ideal. It was time to rebuild their lives and to pay homage to those who died.

In most years since then, there has been a war somewhere on the planet. Maybe it is as simple as a scuffle between brothers or sisters, or something major like a world war or two. No matter how big or how small the conflict, there is always an unhappy loser and an unsatisfied winner.

Originally Memorial Day was set aside to remember those military personnel who died while in the service. The date used to be on May 30 but now it is observed on the last Monday in May. Somehow I think there will be more people watching race cars going around in circles than there will be those whose hearts are breaking as they lay flowers upon the graves of their loved ones.

It bothers me that there is a need for Memorial Day. We visited Washington, D.C., several years ago. We stopped at Arlington Cemetery. There were rows upon rows of crosses marking rows and rows of graves. So many people have lost their lives. So many families are grieving their loved ones. There are so many reasons for Memorial Day.

This past weekend my brother Michael and his wife, Diane stopped by. They had been out to the local swap meet. As usual Michael found some train cars that he wanted. He already has enough of those to fully insulate his entire home. I can’t say anything about it because I have the same problem with plants. We had a nice visit and he left for home before the rain began.

There is more to May than remembering loved ones who have gone on before us. It is more than family dropping in. It is even more than putting flowers on a grave. It is all of those put together plus a bit of the unknown.

We may not decorate the graves. Maybe family will stop by and maybe they won’t. Things are seldom the same as they once were. We simply need to live as best as we can.