Flags and flowers for a subdued Memorial Day 2020.

Flags at federal buildings and national monuments are flying at half-staff across the U.S. this entire holiday weekend to honor the COVID-19 victims, as ordered by the President. While that is both sad and admirable, I hope that Memorial Day Monday will still be reserved to honor our war dead, while remembering the song lyrics “all gave some, some gave all.”

Mindful of the solemnness of this annual holiday, I took a short trek to nearby Memorial Park to capture a few images of Memorial Day 2020.

Memorial Park is split into two sections; one part of the Park is reserved for playground activities only. Across the street, the other portion contains the 65-year-old Bandshell, which is the site of free Summertime concerts and occasional movie nights, plus it is a hoppin’ place during Cruisin’ Downriver and Art in the Park. A memorial pavilion and large flower garden are also in this portion of Memorial Park – this side has remained open throughout the pandemic.

It was no surprise, that due to COVID-19 health concerns, our City’s annual Memorial Day Parade was cancelled. It was not the first time it was cancelled. During a tough time for our City when we were in receivership (July 2014 to December 2015), we lost many amenities, among them the Memorial Day Parade. However, even before the City was solvent again, crowdfunding ventures helped revive this annual tradition and keep the parade afloat (or many floats if you’ll pardon that pun).

There has always been a lot of pomp and circumstance, ranging from fun to sad, that mark this event. First, it is the typical, parade-type atmosphere that one would find in any hometown locale. We have those fez-wearing Shriners with their miniature cars or motorcycles, clowns, marching bands, the afore-mentioned floats and even the likenesses of President Abe Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln walking the parade route and proudly representing the City of Lincoln Park, amid the click of camera shutters by both casual onlookers and professional photographers.

But then the mood suddenly shifts to somber when the culmination of the event is the gathering at the Memorial Park Pavilion. Here heads are bowed, prayers are said, a shotgun salute is heard, then “Taps” is played on a bugle while wreaths are placed to commemorate those Lincoln Park servicemen lost in the WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam conflicts. Is there anything sadder than hearing “Taps” whether you personally lost someone in a war or not? The sad strains will bring a tear to your eye … it does to mine anyway.

So, the Memorial Day Parade was paused for 2020, but hopefully, just like other traditions, it will return in 2021.

Flags to honor our war dead.

The Exchange Club of Michigan didn’t disappoint and had their usual display of 50 or so American flags flapping in the breeze in and around the Memorial Pavilion.

While this an impressive display, in the past, our City has been fortunate to host a “Field of Honor Flags” display through the Healing Field Organization, where individual flags on eight-foot poles are placed throughout the Park to honor every Lincoln Park veteran who was a wartime casualty. Each military person’s name, rank, birth/death date and place of death is noted on a tag that accompanies their flag. It was a spectacular sight to see.

We have the permanent stone memorial to honor all the dead serviceman from our City. This is from a previous year’s ceremony.

The City also honors 24-year-old Sergeant Craig S. Frank, a member of the Army National Guard who died on July 17, 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom, from injuries sustained when a rocket-propelled grenade struck him from behind. Sergeant Frank’s tribute is a concrete pillar where a likeness of his boots, firearm and helmet have been cast in bronze atop the pillar.

After taking pictures at the Pavilion area, I meandered over to check out the Gardens. Young volunteers from the Lincoln Park Garden Club have planted and maintain perennials here and are hopeful the milkweed planted last year will be enough to classify this area as a Monarch Waystation. I visited several times last year and while I saw no Monarchs, I saw other butterflies and bees and a beautiful collection of blooms. The garden area was sparse now, but I’ll be back to see the irises, lilies and roses which were plentiful last year.

As I walked around the grounds and gardens, camera in hand, I decided this pictorial might represent those who have fallen and their loved ones left behind. Maybe you will agree?

Honoring those who gave all and the ones they left behind with flowers.

Our hearts bleed for those who lost their lives in the ravages of war – may we never forget them.

Those brave men and women arrived at the combat zone, fresh-faced newbies, with platoon leaders who took them under their wing as best they could.

All too soon they were thrust into a hell; some lost limbs, or were traumatized by comrades cut down in unspeakable scenes.

Some fallen heroes were struck down before they had even had a chance to enjoy their lives.

War-torn families, severed from loved ones, were left behind in the blurry aftermath of booby traps, bullets or RPGs.

But the brave souls who returned still stand tall at military events everywhere on this Memorial Day weekend.

They were/are proud to serve their country, no matter their age.

Very few of those grizzled military men and women remain, but they remember their fallen or wounded comrades and life on the battlefield, while tears slowly roll down their cheeks. Life was never the same post-war; they will never forget and can only speak about it to others who witnessed the same images.

My friend Jack was a career Marine and is proud of his children and grandchildren who followed in his footsteps in the USMC. Jack circulated this video by e-mail and though I have never lost a loved due to war, the images sure are moving. Click here to view it.

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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40 Responses to Flags and flowers for a subdued Memorial Day 2020.

  1. Sandra J says:

    Beautiful post Linda and beautiful photos.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Eliza says:

    💕💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Laurie says:

    I am remembering my dad this Memorial Day. Dad was a lieutenant in North Africa and Italy during WWII. He was not killed in action (obviously, or I wouldn’t be here) but he was a veteran who is no longer with us. The Blue Mile is a mile of the Marine Corps Marathon route dedicated to Marines who have lost their lives serving our country. It is heart-wrenching to see photos and little biographies of the young men and women. After the Blue Mile, families of the fallen wave big flags and cheer the runners on. It is a good thing it was raining last year because I had tears for the entire mile. Happy Memorial Day, Linda.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      That is a nice story how you remember your father on Memorial Day Laurie. My father was also in WWII, in the German Army, but never spoke about his rank/duties during the war. I would imagine it would be very moving participating in the Blue Mile during the Marine Corps Marathon for you. Last Memorial Day I was in a 5K and there were many vets, and there were some veterans groups were there at the onset, each holding large flags and there was a moment of silence – the donation was not given to a charity for vets, though, but for education in the city where it was held. Happy Memorial Day to you too Laurie.

      Like

  4. Beautiful photos and tribute to the fallen, Linda. Nice job. You captured great photos and eloquently added words to touch our hearts as we all honor those who have served and lost their lives. I hope your Memorial Day goes well and that you stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Shelley. I saw these bleeding hearts and some spent tulips at Memorial Park and that idea was borne, so I decided I’d use it for a tribute to war veterans for a Memorial Day post. Well, I have a problem with my A/C – waiting on a tech to call me. I had a new infuser and mother board put in on New Year’s Eve so I called to ask if a switch was shut off maybe as it worked in the Fall. It is going to 90 today, and was very hot yesterday, so hoping they call soon. According to customer service, they are backed up with appointments from the sudden heat and the holiday. I liked the cold weather much better.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. ruthsoaper says:

    A lovely tribute Linda. It is so important that we not let our current situation overshadow the purpose of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I wasn’t quite sure why flags are at half mast but you are right. I remember the president saying they would be lowered for the virus victims.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………….thank you………………………for displaying all of the beautiful springtime flowers………………..it is a perfect time of the year………………………not cold not hot ………….its even NOT raining!!!!!…………………..and for taking pictures of the 50 flag display……………..some of us won;t be able to get out that way to see them…………………

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Ann Marie – I am glad you liked this post. They promised a stormy weekend and it is on tap for this afternoon, but so far has not spoiled anyone’s plans. The 50-flag display is nice; the 100-flag display with the names of each vet attached is even more impressive, but they don’t do that every year. When they do, I will be sure to let you know so you can walk through and see it.

      Like

  8. Michael says:

    lovely post and great photos. Some poignant stuff in John’s video…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful post! I particularly liked the words that you wrote with the flowers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Anne … glad you enjoyed it. After I visited the flags and walked to the garden, the bleeding hearts were all in bloom and seeing them gave me the idea to use the bleeding hearts and the tulips, some which were a bit dilapidated, in the Memorial Day post. Those bleeding hearts were beautiful – I tried to grow them a few times and the bunnies got them.

      Like

      • I was never able to keep a bleeding heart alive.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Me neither Anne. Each time I bought two plants to give it a good start – gone in no time. I have given up on it now and I saw all those bleeding heart plants at the park and will go there for my dose of bleeding hearts – they were in excellent conditions but are in a slightly raised bed, so maybe that’s why.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I love Bleeding Hearts. 🙂 I planted some by the river bank but i think that all the natural plants chocked them out.
    So many died fighting for “freedom” and now true freedom is slipping away here in the USA. The current government is putting kids in concentration camps, restricting voting rights illegally and immorally, stripping away health-care and social security programs, and is supporting bigotism and racism. Very Nazi-like!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I love them too Tom. I tried to grow them in the yard and the bunnies ate them – I tried a few times and finally gave up. Now I’ll go see them in the garden area of the Park instead. They are in a raised bed there so may be less bunnies gorging themselves on them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been planting a number of cool perennials this year… Lamiums, Jack Frost’s, Curley Fries, Wiggles and Squiggles, and others. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I have gotten away from gardening after I began walking and losing all my perennials, so I Googled around to find these. Now I always had good luck with Hostas (until Polar Vortex 2014 and 2015 when I lost everything). But before that I had some for years and my neighbor game me several August Lillies which were healthy too. I like all the Hostas here and their leaves sure are different … also liked their names of Curley Fries, Wiggles and Squibbles. The Lamiums are nice -they are beautiful and I like the purple ones best. The Jack Frost are great fillers. I want to get back into gardening again – I did enjoy it for years, but after the neighbor behind caused us to get rats and I had to put away all birdbaths and birdfeeders, and then lost my entire butterfly garden thanks to the back-to-back Polar Vortexes, I was just disillusioned with continuing with gardening.

        Like

  11. What a nice post Linda! I can’t believe the size of the flags! All I see around our area is the little Dollar Store flags but a lot of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Diane – glad you liked it. This is a nice display that the Exchange Club does every year- the Field of Flags display we had a few years ago is even more impressive and on 8-foot poles and the flags are bigger. A sea of red, white and blue.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. J P says:

    A nicely done tribute. I have been fortunate that none of the military people I have known have been lost in conflict.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Joni says:

    A nice tribute Linda, well done, esp. the flowers telling the story. As you know, Memorial Day is not celebrated here, more so Remembrance Day in November.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Joni. I saw the bleeding hearts and decided I could tie in that garden to Memorial Day. They have not put out their cobalt cats that you liked last year. (Unless someone swiped them.) I think the group has not been there for maintenance yet … it is a group of students from the high school, and they usually sell plants they grow in a greenhouse which I see advertised on Facebook in the neighborhood forum I follow. Probably not there since school’s been closed since mid-March. When we moved to the States we were surprised that the remembrances for war vets was reversed to what we were accustomed to. We always wore our felt poppies in Canada on November 11th. Here they have remembrances at Memorial Day and only acknowledge living vets in November for Veterans Day.

      Liked by 1 person

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