Wednesday, May 30, 2012

In Case You Missed It - Memorial Day

For most, this past weekend was full of boating, family picnics, beer drinking, partying til dawn, a 3 day weekend on the water, at the mountains or at the beach, with a good dose of NASCAR's Coca Cola 600 thrown in to kick off the un-official Official start of Summer.

And in case you missed it, Memorial Day.

A number of years ago Mrs. Cedar and I spent the last weekend of May on the West Coast. Three fun filled days of checking out the San Francisco area; Napa Valley, Monterrey and the former home of John Steinbeck, a Giants baseball game at the old Candlestick Park and the golden gate bridge. That Monday we stumbled into The Presidio and the vast military cemetery there on what just happened to be Memorial Day.

The fact is I had forgotten what day it was, until I noticed the sea of stars and stripes. They have been honoring Memorial Day at the Persidio for 144 years. While it is not Arlington National Cemetery, it is vast and stunningly beautiful. The late afternoon fading light of a California sunset is a surreal backdrop to the endless rows of headstones that mark the graves of American Soldiers. There are 34 Medal of Honor recipients in the San Francisco National Cemetery, a somber reminder of the price we have paid as a nation.

The unexpected find, and that moment of realization that without such days, we take far too much for granted, has stayed with me.

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