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By Jesse Utz 

Memories on Memorial Day

Jess Shut Up

 


When I was younger, a cemetery brought visions of ghosts and creepy monsters. Not to mention a music video by Michael Jackson that made all the ghouls dance in unison. It was a place you did not want to go and always felt a little uncomfortable. As a kid it also brought back visions of death and that can make it all the scarier for a child. But as we grow and mature, we learn and experience, and the cemetery becomes something else. For me, it is a place of memories.

If you think about it for a moment, like I did this weekend, it’s kind of a strange feeling to stand in your little part of the groomed grass, a place where it seems like only a few years ago you broke ground there for the first time, with family standing around, and lowered your first loved one into the earth. A somber feeling. Then as the years pass, that one tombstone becomes two, then three, and before you know it there are many names etched on the concrete that marks your family’s place among the thousands of others laid to rest there. Reflection. That is the word that comes to be while I stand there. I think back, remember, smile, sadness and before I know it tears have snuck into my vision and must be shaken free.

My wife and I on our 17th wedding anniversary walked the grounds of Spring Canyon, with the gorgeous and patriotic flags flapping and snapping in the cool summer breeze. We remembered. Not just our family but friends and community members that are now resting there too. We ran into others experiencing the same emotions and walking the same routes we did. Sometimes we chatted and shared. Sometimes just a friendly nod as we strolled past. Some of these emotions are still very fresh for some and others have been coming out here way too long to visit the past.

As we read the names on the ground and on the flags, we would think back to what we liked best about that person. Or sometimes we did not share, just a fleeting thought that danced in our mind a second and passed.

The cemetery is not a scary place. It’s a place of family and friends. A place to remember and talk and share. It is a good place. Even though some things still hurt deeply, this place is a memory book to be read many times over. Our past and heritage is etched here and flies high here, among the deer and the snakes and the birds and the memories of love.

In my opinion our cemetery on Memorial Day Weekend is one of the most breathtaking and wonderful memorials I have ever seen, and the view at night is one that cannot be described on this paper. It is an experience you must have yourself. I commend all the volunteers who work so hard to make this occasion very special for all. If you missed it this year, you must see it next year and the next and so on.

Yes, we miss them all and we wish we could have had more time. There are no words to ease your pain and heartbreak. All I can say is remember, smile and share your precious memories with the next generation. Read and reread that memory book, and be proud of what it all stands for. It stands for who we are as a person, as a community and as a nation. Memorial Day. It is good.

 

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