Here we are at Memorial Day weekend already! The first part of May has been filled up with PTA activities for me, but I think that there are actually no meetings left for the school year now. Whew! Thomas always tolerated my PTA involvement though he was a little disturbed by the way I kept meeting his friends' parents at these events so I would hear things . . . I'm still hearing things, occasionally, about him or the effects of his death. However, an entire generation of high schoolers has come and gone since he graduated in 2002 and very few people I run into now know about him. Sometimes I will mention him without mentioning his death which always seems a bit weird, but then sometimes it's not relevant. If I use his name, I will usually tell people what happened. I did wear a little pin with a gold star on it (it looks like the banner we had on our door) to the Wednesday night banquet, but the print of my dress was so busy that I don't think anyone saw it. I was all set to explain though . . .
This Memorial Day has just been difficult for a number of reasons, though it's hard to say what they are. Gene's death, I suppose. A serious illness that has cropped up in my extended family. Others in my circle who have encountered health problems in the last month. And then, this year it seems like newspapers are paying more attention to the meaning of Memorial Day. Both the Washington Post and the Gazette newspapers (local weeklies) have done stories on the local fallen, including Thomas. It's been sort of like trying to decommercialize Christmas except in this case, we have the White House Commission on Remembrance campaigning to get everyone to take a moment of silence to reflect at 3:00 pm local time on Monday the 26th. They have moved the Day of Remembrance event to September this year--I'm not sure how I feel about that.
We also received a letter this week from a man who had seen our letter to the Washington Post about naming the Rockville Library "Memorial". He was also concerned that his current county of residence was resisting naming local schools for the two soldiers from there who have died: I've talked to the parents of both soldiers (one is Linda Faulstich, whose son Raymond died in August of 2004). It is incomprehensible to me that there is so much resistance to memorializing our fallen. Even "politics" seems like an inadequate answer, though it is the standard answer here in the suburbs of our nation's capital.
In any case, we will go to the cemetery, Gate of Heaven, on Monday for Mass at 10 a.m. and then visit Thomas's grave and Gene's nearby. I am growing salvia in blue and white that I will cut to put on his grave. I have a small flag I bought at Fort McHenry to leave as well. It will be crowded, as it has been every year, but the weather should be clear and lovely.