Writers Tricks of the Trade ISSUE 1, VOLUME 9 - Page 14

weekend. We decided we would make that Memorial Day like the ones we remem- bered when we were children, the holiday when veterans weren't so old, they marched in parades and honored all of those who served. The Memorial Days we remembered had stores that closed on that special holiday. We decided we wanted an old-fashioned Memorial Day. We would honor and remember our veterans. To celebrate that Memorial Day, I de- cided to do a number of things that would be different. I organized members of one of the police organizations to which I belong. We placed flags at the graves of our veter- ans and their families at Long Island Na- tional Cemetery. We did it on Saturday, May 29. We walked amongst the gravestones. Each one had a name. They all cast shad- ows. The stones cast the shadows now, as the people they represent did, when they walked amongst us. As we walked amongst the gravestones, we read names, we read dates, and some- times we had our hearts broken. We saw the names of veterans laid to rest after they had fought in World War I, the Great War; the war that was supposed to end all wars. We saw stones for veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, and even the Spanish American War. We saw the names of spouses of veterans. Sometimes they were alone. Sometimes husbands and wives were joined together for eternity. Our hearts were broken as we read "Child of -" or simply "infant". We saw aging veterans remembering their friends. They bowed their heads in a moment of si- lent prayer and reflection, and then they placed an American Flag at a special grave- S PRING 2019 stone. There were Cub Scouts and Brownies running amongst the stones, placing flags at each one —the next generation of Ameri- cans was showing their thanks. It was nice to be able to reflect on all that was done for this country by the he- roes with whom we spent time. There was a special feeling amongst those who deco- rated the graves. It brought out such strong emotions. They would be back again the following year, walking amongst the shad- ows, placing a flag at each stone. On Memorial Day, my wife and I decided to visit Long Island National Cemetery, be- cause our family and friends are there. Along the way, we stopped and purchased fresh flowers. It was time for us to pay our respects to some special individuals. The first stop was my wife's parents grave. They are together. My wife's father fought in World War II. He served in North Africa and Europe. I never had the oppor- tunity to meet him—he was gone before my wife and I met. I did enjoy knowing my mother-in-law and I do miss her. We always visit their grave on holidays and birthdays. However, that day we stopped to say thank you for what my wife's father did when it meant so much. We also had to thank her mother, for all she sacrificed while he was overseas for years. If not for them and the others like them, we would not be as blessed as we are today. The next stop was the grave of the par- ents of a retired police officer from Califor- nia. His father died when he was a small child. His father was serving in North Africa at the time, and died in combat. Eventually he was brought home and interred on Long Island. The retired police officer never P AGE 9 W RITERS ’ T RICKS OF THE T RADE