When I was a small boy growing up on a farm out in Ohio, May 30 was known to me as Decoration Day. It was a time for families to remember those who had passed and to take some time off from farm planting work to pay their respects to deceased family members by visiting their graves and planting a flower or two on the grave of their loved ones. I can remember visiting the grave of my Mother’s Mother, Anna Klopfestein Yoder who is buried in the East Chippewa Church of the Brethren Cemetery, in Green Township, Ohio. I can remember my mother knelling at her mother’s grave and shedding a few tears as I played among the tombstones. She then planted a geranium or two on her mother’s grave. I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND.
And then later when I was in High School during the late fifties, I helped celebrate Memorial Day as our Smithville High School band marched from the High School to the Smithville, Ohio cemetery. There a group of veterans would conduct a solemn ceremony beneath some large shade trees. The commander would deliver an address recognizing all soldiers who had lost their lives fighting for their country. A group of veterans would then fire a salute to these fallen soldiers and taps would be played ending the ceremony. Members of the High School Band would then march back to the High School, a walk of perhaps a mile. I BEGAN TO UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF MEMORIAL DAY.
Later on my Grandparents Walter and Emma Bupp, and my parents Stanley and Dorothy Bupp were buried in this cemetery – very near to the place where we used to celebrate Memorial Day when I was in High School. And I always stop at their grave sites every time when I returned to Smithville for a visit.
Two years ago my brother John Bupp and his wife Joan passed and are buried in that same cemetery. My Brother John was buried on December 16th, 2019 with full military honors as he served in the US Army from 1967 to 1969. He chose to serve as he believed that he owed something to those who had fought and died for our country.
And as my time on this earth grows short, I NOW UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF MEMORIAL DAY. What started in May 30, 1869 at the Arlington National Cemetery to honor both Confederate and Union Soldiers who had died and were buried there has been expanded to include all soldiers who died in American Wars. It also includes family members and friends and those who have gone on before us. And anyone who we just want to remember!