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Memorial Day Weekend…

Posted by on May 29, 2016

May 30, 2016     


Our flag on display at National Cemetery. Naval Air Station, Pensacola.

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States. A federal mandate years ago set the observance on the last Monday of May, creating a long weekend for most Americans. Since it’s also the traditional beginning of the summer season, many folks don’t seem to know or care about the history of the holiday. For them, it’s nothing more than a long weekend to grill burgers or travel and visit with friends. For us, it’s a little different than that. Please think of this Memorial Day as more than a beach-side, grill-side day off from work.

CONSIDER THIS. Attend a local ceremony, thank a veteran, or reach out to the family of a deployed or wounded service member. Florence and I spent yesterday afternoon enjoying ourselves at nearby Pensacola Beach. Today, our friend Jon gave us a tour of both St. Michael’s Cemetery and the National Military Cemetery at Naval Air Station, Pensacola. Tomorrow, we’re going to take our Jeep for a drive in the country. A good mix, we think, of paying respect to our fallen heroes and also relaxing on the Emerald Coast.

WHAT’S THE MEANING OF MEMORIAL DAY? Jesse Watters decided to ask “the folks” if they knew the answer to this simple question: “What’s the meaning of Memorial Day?” What he discovered may surprise you! Take a look at this video clip.

PENSACOLA BEACH. By the time we got to the beach yesterday afternoon,  it was way-crowded with tourists and half-naked college kids having a good time. They were well behaved and friendly but we just didn’t want to spend all afternoon sharing the beach with them. Then we got lucky…just a few miles down the strand we found a beautiful yet almost deserted stretch of beach. No college kids. Just sea birds. So we parked our beach chairs on the sand and enjoyed the sound of the surf and the smell of salt sea air. The sand at Pensacola’s beaches is white…really white! It’s so clean it squeaks as you walk on it. And the water near the shore is always a beautiful emerald green color. Past the surf break the color turns to Indigo blue. Very nice!


This was our spot yesterday at Pensacola Beach, on Florida’s Emerald Coast. We had the whole space to ourselves, except for some shore birds. Very nice! 


Original artwork associated with St. Michael, often depicted as the archangel of God fighting evil.

ST. MICHAEL’S CEMETERY. During the next few weeks we plan to finish seeing all that Pensacola has to offer. Today our friend Jon took us to see historic St. Michael’s Cemetery and also to the National Cemetery located nearby so we could pay our respects.  Those of you who follow my blog will recall that we’ve already visited quite a few cemeteries during the last three years. They’re often like “outdoor museums” where history is written in stone. And the past, after all, is prologue.

Today’s visit to St. Michael’s was no exception. Pensacola was founded a long, long time ago. So it’s no surprise that there’s more “history on display” here than in many younger graveyards we’ve seen during our travels. St. Michael’s was originally a rural cemetery serving a colonial population. Today, it’s located in the heart of urban, historic Pensacola, not far from many of the shops and restaurants we’ve enjoyed while we’ve been here.


I cringe when I see spelling errors. So I wanted desperately put an apostrophe where it belongs on the sign in this photo. It should be “St. Michael’s Cemetery,” of course. I can’t help myself. 





NEXT STOP: BARRANCAS NATIONAL CEMETERY. At the next stop on today’s tour, we had a chance to observe the holiday and pay our respect to those who’ve died in service to our country. About 35,000 men and women who gave their lives during military service are buried on these well-maintained grounds at the Naval Air Station. By the time we arrived today, local Boy Scouts had already placed a small American Flag at each and every grave to mark the holiday weekend and celebrate the American heroes’ final resting places. It was quite a sight.






The grounds are perfectly manicured and maintained. As they should be.


041101-N-0000X-001 East Rutherford, N.J. (Nov. 1, 2004) Ð A U.S. Navy color guard assigned to Naval Reserve Center Bronx, New York, parade the colors during the opening ceremony for Monday NightÕs Football game between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, at the Meadowlands Sports Complex. From left, MachinistÕs Mate 1st Class Jason Maynard, Operations Specialist 1st Class Michael Allen, Personnelman Seaman Apprentice Michael A. Cowan and Aviation ElectricianÕs Mate 2nd Class Darris Dupree, Jr. U.S. Navy photo by Alexander H. Craver, III (RELEASED)


We hope you enjoyed your Memorial Day Weekend as much as we enjoyed ours!



At dinner after our Memorial Day activities. Jon, Greg and Florence.


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