"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, May 30, 2010

In Memorium

Flags I've found while picking up litter along the Seward Highway.

Today, Monday, is Memorial Day, that day set aside for remembering those who served and those who gave all in defense of our country, in defense of our values, in assistance to others.

My dad didn't die in service to our country. He served during World War II and was honorably discharged. When he died late in life, the American Legion presented an American flag to my mother.

Dad's flag.

This was the day I retired a different flag, the faded flag that flies outside my house. I took it off the pole and folded it.

Then I mangled the plastic package that imprisoned the new flag, noting that it guaranteed it was 100 per cent made in the USA. Now, that's something. Seems like everything I pick up anymore has a "Made in China" sticker on it.

Then I attached the new flag to the pole and set it free.

In my litter-picking travels lately, I have come upon several roadside memorials to people who have died in accidents. It reminds me of a bus trip I was on in Mexico, south of Mazatlan. We noticed a number of memorials alongside the highway, some of them quite elaborate. Our guide said the Mexicans believe the soul lingers where the body died.

I think of that every time I'm in this area near Summit Lake.

Many years ago, a young woman driving into the direction of the camera went off the road and was killed when her car hit the only tree within a half mile. Each year I straighten the plastic cross that honors her, and each time I pass this site I think about her, though I didn't know her.

Much of it has broken away. Nearby is one of the signs the State puts up in places where there have been fatal accidents, reminding motorists to drive carefully.

A couple days later I was in this area:

Around the corner from here, I saw what looked like a pile of trash at the base of a dead tree. It was another roadside memorial, in disrepair. I started picking up the scattered, faded plastic flowers and putting them in my litter bag.

Then I saw some weather-durable items--a Mickey Mouse statuette and a small teddy bear--and decided to reconstruct the memorial as best I could. A broken cross was nearby, so I added it to the site.

I think this might be a memorial for a young child.

This is Memorial Day. I think we all have a lot of things to remember on this day.

As you finish here and move away from this site, I urge you to follow the link below to listen to a full rendition of Il Silenzio, the music from which Taps is taken. It is played by 13 year old Melissa Venema, playing with the orchestra of Maestro Andre Rieu in the Netherlands, 2008. You may have to copy and paste the link into your browser.




  1. Reading this post is a great way to start my Memorial Day. It's amazing what you find when you're litter picking, such as, all those flags and then the crosses and other memorial objects. I like that you honor the dead whom you don't even know by straightening the objects left by those who knew them well.

  2. Gullible - Thank you for the wonderful trubute and the utube link to Il Silenzio. The music is amazing and even more so played by a 13 year old.