I grew up as the daughter of a mother from the South who followed the tradition of "Decoration Day" (which she learned as a child) over the years even as she moved north to Massachusetts, where I grew up. Every year this would be the day when the graves of family members were cleaned of debris from the winter, trimmed up and flowers planted or baskets placed. Often, as relatives might have lived in several different areas, many towns were visited along a circuitous route. Along the way one might hear tales of Aunt Fanny or Uncle Johnny or other family stories. Several cemeteries had Veterans sections and this was where "Wally -- who received a Purple Heart after he was killed in World War ll, was buried. I heard the tale of how his mother was so devastated when her son was buried in a far off land (Italy), that she joined a group of Gold Star Mothers who successfully petitioned President Truman and the Military to bring the "boys" home to rest. Each service member had the same simple white tombstone provided. Over the years this veterans section of the cemetery sadly grew and grew. Some additions were from the deaths of those who had also served in the so-called "World Wars" and could call this their final resting place near comrades. Other from more wars or conflicts as Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and now Iraq and Afghanistan brought the deaths of more and more of our young and able bodied Americans. I expect that today, in Massachusetts, my sister is following this tradition.
Washington Post had an article about Vets who regularly wash the Wall on the Vietmam Veterans' Memorial as their way of remembering the fallen. Now that is a tradition we should all support.
Do you have a tradition you wish to share? Let us know by writing us here.