Did I really understand
When we marched in the long
Memorial Day parade
That started at
St Bonaventure church
In South Fairmount
And ended at
The Baltimore Avenue Cemetery
In North Fairmount
Next door to my grandmother’s house,
What we were marching for?
I think not.
We wore white clothing
And carried little flags
And walked the very long trek
From one place to another
(Mind you, you had to walk to St Bonnie’s
before the parade, too, to be there when it started)
And I know our little legs
Were aching and tired by the time
We reached the memorial plaque
In front of the cemetery
Where the names of the fallen
From our neighborhoods
Were engraved on the wall.
While we marched
My mother, grandmother, and aunts
Sold bouquets of flowers
Both real and artificial
For fifty cents a bunch
To those who drove past
My grandmother’s house
On their way to the gravesites.
What stands out most in my mind,
Remembering the fallen
On Memorial Day
Is all of us children
“Flowers! Fifty cents a bunch!”
To all the potential customers
Who were visiting the cemetery.

–Sandra Lee Smith
May 25, 2009


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