Memorial day was cool and overcast, as in my memory it always is. As a child, I would accompany my father as he went to a different cemetery every year for the memorial services. He was a radio operator for a B-26 bomber in WWII and even though I was very young, the seriousness of the day impressed me greatly.
The turnout for the ceremony in Levering Cemetery was small because most neighborhood people go to the larger one, an hour later, at the war memorial in Gorgas Park, not a quarter mile away. I like the one at the cemetery, though, because there are soldiers buried there from the American Revolution and the Civil War, as well as more recent wars, and because the presence of their graves reminds everyone of what the day of memorial is all about.
There is always a short speech and of course it's patriotic. There's always the 21-gun salute. But the ceremony is not about the country and it's not about the military. It's about showing respect to those who died before their time. Some of the vets present would be thinking about those they knew who had surrendered their lives far before their time. I know my father was. And before that, one has to stand humble and silent.