There is a small town in Connecticut that has a Memorial Day parade every year. Almost the whole town — about 1,500 people — march in the parade, some in uniform, some in shorts. The former postmaster started a tradition of handing out small American flags, so each person has a flag to wave. The high school trumpeters — two of them — have the challenge of playing taps call-and-response across the town green. And when the parade gets to the bottom of the hill — having closed the state highway to march right down the middle — everyone listens as the names are read of each man and woman who has served and died. Some hear the name of a grandfather and a father; others hear names of cousins, uncles, aunts, brothers.
Afterwards, the parade straggles back up to the firehouse for doughnuts, coffee and a chance to climb on the sparkling fire engine. Everyone sees everyone at this, the first real event of summer. After that solemn moment, there is much laughing and chatter.
Wherever you are this weekend — in your back yard, at the beach, or at Arlington National Cemetery absorbing the awesome sight of all those flags — we hope your Memorial Day is a good chance to gather with family and friend, and to remember those who have served and those serving still.