Did I really understand

When we marched in the long

Memorial Day parade,

That started at Saint Bonaventure

Church in South Fairmount,

And ended at the Baltimore

Avenue Cemetery in North

Fairmount, next door to my

Grandmother’s house–

What were we marching for?

I think not. We wore white

Clothing and carried little

American flags, and walked

The very long trek from

One place to another.

(Mind you, we had to walk

To St. Bonnie’s before the

Parade, to be there when it

Started. I know our little legs

Were aching and tired by the

Time we reached the memorial

Plaque in front of the cemetery,

Where all the names of the

Fallen from our neighborhood

Had been engraved onto the

Memorial plaque.

While we marched, my mother,

Aunts, and grandmother sold

Bouquets of flowers, both real

And artificial for 50 cents a bunch,

To those who drove past my

Grandmother’s house on their

Way to the gravesites at the top

Of the hill.

What stands out in my mind

Are all of us children shouting

“Flowers! Fifty cents a bunch!”

To all the potential customers

Who were visiting the cemetery.

I was a teenager before I really

grasped that all of my uncles

on both sides of the family

had served in World War II.


Sandra Lee Smith/In honor of

Memorial Day, May 28, 2018


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