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by Tamara Hillman

May 2010

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May is here, and flowers are showing their lovely stems and glorious blooms through muddy soil left by the spring-melt. No more snow flurries, hopefully, ‘til late next fall.

The air smells clean and fresh of the plowed fields ready for plantin’. There is no smell quite like it (especially if you add fertilizer), as the ground is made ready for the many crops farmers need to secure in the damp earth to start the germinating process. Then it’s just a matter of a few weeks (sometimes days) before the warmth of old Sol brings the seeds to maturity, and green shoots sprout up in long, beautiful rows.

Ahhhhh yes! It brings back fond memories of how my mother was always anxious to get her huge garden planted this time of year. She loved gardening, and to this day would be out hoeing away if her health would allow it. I think she loved the planting and gathering most because ninety percent of the weeding was left to us kids. She said to keep us outta trouble…but I wonder.

She had fabulous flowers too. In my mind’s eye, I can smell them yet planted neatly along the northwest side of the house. There were huge purple Iris, Honeysuckle, Hollyhocks, Roses, a few Lilac bushes, and my favorites, Snapdragons. She just happened to have a green thumb. Anything she planted grew like God had personally blessed it. I did not inherit the knack, but my brother did, and he and his wife’s vegetable garden is always hearty and lush each year.

Now, as we all know, there is another holiday coming in this month of May…Memorial Day. For my younger readers---Did you know it used to be called Decoration Day?

It seems after the civil war ended in 1864, the widows and children of fallen soldiers started decorating the graves with flowers in May, (obviously that’s when their flowers were freshly in bloom in their own yards since flower shops were unheard of back then.) By 1868, the entire nation was inspired to honor the heroes of that time who had passed in war, and a new holiday was born.

Who knows when, or by whom, the name was changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day, but in my lifetime, it has always been called the latter.

Memorial Day didn’t become an official federal holiday until 1971. Ironically, the same year the most decorated hero of WW11, Audey Murphy, died in a plane crash while surveying land he was proposing to buy.

A Soldier Thank You

This month, we honor all the wonderful men and women who have risked their lives in battle through far too many wars. Some paid the ultimate price, while others came home wounded of limb, or emotionally traumatized.

At my hometown cemetery, (where I will rest someday) the American legion supplies small flags that are placed on every grave of those known to have served. I love seeing all those flags waving in the sunshine amongst the beautiful flowers people bring. I remember, on the morning of Memorial Day, when we were kids, the Legionnaires used to march at the cemetery, and fire their rifles into the air 3 times in salute when they were halted. Dad used to be one of the marchers. I must ask my brother if that tradition is still practiced. I think they only do it now by request for military funerals.

If you know a soldier like my Dad, who served in the South Pacific as a leather-neck marine during WW11, or a guy or gal who fought in Korea, Viet Nam, the first battle in the Middle East (Desert Storm) against Saddam Hussein, and the battle that rages on in Afghanistan and Iraq today, give ‘em a big ol’ hug, and tell them how much their service, (fighting for freedom in a foreign land) is appreciated by we patriots in America. This is the perfect time to say a special “thank you” to anyone wearing the uniform of these United States whether past tense or present…Now, don’t be shy.

And remember, we are in the biggest struggle of our time right now to keep America free and strong. Please don’t give up the fight here at home! We’ve led the world for over two hundred years in Christian faith, capitalism, and just plain hard work to continue the American heritage our forefathers founded when they signed the DECLARATION OF INDEPENCENCE & THE CONSTITUTION into law. We are losing that Freedom, for which men and women have fought so gallantly and died so bravely to a socialistic government, which has failed wherever it’s been tried. I will not apologize to any country for our supposed arrogance when we have sacrifice so many lives on foreign shores for their freedoms too.

So, heads up folks! This is no time to be oblivious to what is happening. Be a Patriot for this sacred land of ours. Cherish it deep in your hearts because it’s still the greatest country ever!!!

Getting down off my political soapbox now, but I meant every word!

Ya know, I’ve written many poems about veterans, war, and such, but I never feel as though I ever quite capture how deeply I appreciate and love those soldier-heroes who go off to war, and risk it all for America.

I leave you with a couple of poems I hope come close to my feelings, and yours, about our soldiers. Celebrate them this Memorial Day!


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The hour was nearing,

their parting―too soon

as shadows grew longer

‘neath the light of the moon.

He held her waist tightly,

and swayed to the tune

she hummed, oh so sweetly,

‘neath the light of the moon.

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Two hearts separating

by war’s dreadful doom—

they danced their last dance

‘neath the light of the moon.

A flag-draped coffin

was sent home in June,

now she dances alone

’neath the light of the moon.

Tamara Hillman


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