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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Happy Memorial Day           Monday, May 28 2001

Memorial Days

When I was coming up, Memorial Days were divided into two types. Some years we went to my Mom's hometown, Glasgow, in Reade Township, in Cambria County's northeast corner, where the then-EUB church put on a public chicken-and-dumpling dinner. But before the food was served in the church basement, a traditional parade through the village, followed by memorial services in the large cemetery (where many of my relatives are laid to rest), were held. There were some children's booths where prizes could be won and concessions for flags, souvenirs, and toys like balloons, and candy could be bought. My Aunt Tommy and Uncle Les lived near there and were always with us, along with their daughter, my favorite cousin, Sandy. Mom always met a number of high school classmates who also attended the ceremonies and dinner...it was always a near-perfect day.

Other years, the kids from Thompsons' Corner (intersection of Belsano's South Street and Redmill Road) and most of the kids from greater Belsano decorated their bikes in red, white, and blue crepe paper and joined the parade in our village, which was followed by veterans' ceremonies at both the EUB and Methodist Church cemeteries. This was when the highlight of those ceremonies was being the finder of one of the shell cases from the rifle salutes over the veterans' memorial.

Some years the high school and junior high school bands played as part of the parade through town, or possibly the bands always played but only some of the years did I participate. The younger years with the decorated bikes were more fun and play larger parts in my memories of Memorial Days.

By the hoopla was all over, by noon, the kids had to find other things to do, and if the weather was warm enough, a swim at White Mill (which was in hiking distance from home, whereas Adams Crossing required transportation) often selected.

Memorial Day was founded as the national observation for remembrance of the casualties on both sides of the Civil War, which took, if I remember correctly, about 500,000 in the bloodiest and by far most costly war in our nation's history, in terms of deaths. When I was a kid, most of the graves in the cemeteries which had individual flags, placed by veterans groups, included placards that indicated that the casualty buried there had been in the Union (or northern) army (the GAR or Grand Army of the Republic), and we were told that in the South the placards holding the flags indicated that the casualties fought in the Confederate army. In those days, though the official name of the holiday was Memorial Day, it was commonly referred to Decoration Day, the day to decorate all the graves with flowers and mowing, so the cemeteries would look attractive to the many visitors of the day.

When most of the direct descandants of Civil War casualties and veterans died out, by the early 1960's, the day's focus changed to honoring all casualties of all American wars, and especially the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War, in which our own fathers (in my case, WWI) and older brothers fought.

Today I'm visiting family for a more traditional Memorial Day than I've had for many years, with my brother Bob in the small town of Willows, Calif. I'm looking forward to getting reminders of the old fashioned Memorial Days as we attend veterans ceremonies at the big town cemetery.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Decoration Day joke

A man goes into his doctor's office for an annual physical. After a while, the doctor comes out and says, "I'm sorry Bill, but we have discovered you have a condition which only allows you another 6 weeks to live."

"But Doctor," Bill replied, "I feel great. I haven't felt better in years. This just can't be true. Isn't there anything I can do?"

After a moment, the doctor said, "Well, you might start going down the street to that new health spa and take a mud bath every day."

Excitedly Bill asked, "And that will cure me?"

"No," Replied the doctor, "but it will get you used to the dirt."

Sent by Bob Kennedy

Good thoughts

Be ye fishers of men. You catch them and He will clean them.
Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
Do your best and then sleep in peace. God is Awake.
Don't put a question mark where God put a period.
Don't wait for 6 strong men to take you to church.

Sent by Barry Hunt
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