Memorial Day Memories

A story by Elsie Johnson

We always called it Decoration Day School was dismissed for the year and we looked forward to a summer of freedom. Decorating the graves at Violet Hill our local cemetery was always special. Most of our relations were buried in Kansas but we had graves of friends of our parents to decorate. We always used flowers from my mother’s garden - mostly peonies and spring flowers. We always went to the local parade first. It was small but meaningful. Sometimes my father would wear his army hat. The parade would end at the entrance of Violet Hill where appointed men in uniform would shoot off their guns in honor of deceased comrades. Young boys would scramble for the empty shells after the gun salute. We would next decorate the graves of those we knew - our parents explaining who they were and why we decorate graves. We now have a [family] area in the cemetery where my parents, brother and sister are buried. There is also a plot where my husband is buried by his request in our family plot. It’s a beautifully kept cemetery next to a field of Iowa corn. The area is so serene and peaceful, I’ll be glad to join my family there someday!

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 decorate graves,Decoration Day,parade,Violet Hill Cemetery
  Perry, Iowa
Feb 29 2024


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