"As America celebrates Memorial Day, we pay tribute to those who have given their lives in our nation's wars." ~John M. McHugh
Memorial Day was called Decoration Day by Mom and Dad when my two sisters and I were young. After WWII Memorial Day became the preferred name. But since Decoration Day was what they grew up with, it's what they continued to call it for many years. And up until 1971, it was always on May 30th.
As kids we knew it was a day to decorate graves and honor those who died fighting for our freedom. Dad was a WWII Army veteran and very active in his American Legion Post. Memorial Day meant we'd get up early and head to the Legion for Dad to march in the annual parade. The parade concluded at a nearby cemetery where we'd solemnly stand for the remembrance service which included placing wreaths, prayer, music, and a 21 gun salute. I remember knowing this was serious and important.
When we finally got home, we decorated our bikes with crepe paper by weaving it through the wheel spokes, and hanging streamers to make our bikes patriotic. Then we'd parade around the block because decorating and parading were what Decoration Day was all about after all.
This year Memorial Day is today. On June 28, 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which moved some holidays to a specified Monday to create "convenient" three day weekends. The law took effect on January 1, 1971. Memorial Day moved from May 30th, as it had been celebrated from 1868 - 1970, to the last Monday in May.
Our flag flies this Memorial Day. We'll watch for the annual Memorial Day 5K race that goes by our house. Often we attend a parade that ends at a cemetery for a remembrance service which includes placing wreaths, prayer, music, a 21 gun salute, and sometimes a fly over by the Air Force Reserve.
"We must never forget freedom isn't free." ~Unknown
"Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder."
Spring finally sprung in our neck of the woods! Baltimore Orioles and hummingbirds arrived. We've seen wild turkeys at our neighbor's, wood ducks flying into our woods, and a couple eagles low enough to catch great glimpses. One even had a fish in its talons.
We also noticed unusual activity in the tree behind our deck, a favorite spot for frolicking squirrels, but not so much this spring. For several days we did see and hear the cacophony of squawking crows and hawks - sometimes together - high in the tree. Clearly these were not friendly exchanges. What is so interesting? Then they stopped coming. I was glad.
One day I caught small movements up in that tree. Was it a wing? Was it a squirrel tail? Both were viable possibilities. Stay aware. Then one evening, we saw a Barred Owl in all its camouflaged glory. It sat so still, its big eyes riveted on us. We shared the news with neighbors. They were watching another owl perched in a pine tree. Two owls! We've heard owls from the woods, but never saw them. Every day became a "who can see the owls first" game. Binoculars stayed on the counter.
Exactly one week from that first sighting, something more exciting happened. I noticed movement on a branch. An owlet. Another poked its head out from the nest. Suddenly the owlet on the branch was hanging upside down by both feet, trying to get upright, then by one foot. I took pictures. Eventually it dropped to the ground, which I missed. Darn. It stood a while, and then headed toward the deck. Before long it was on the deck steps. It eventually got up, wandered to the edge, and leaped. Practicing take offs and landings? Again it climbed step to the deck and jumped into the container garden. It tried climbing and flying out, but it was too steep. It hunkered down and rested. Finally the owlet realized it could simply walk out, and rested on the other set of steps. Then it was gone! I went outside and looked around, but didn't see it anywhere. I hope you're safe.
Later that evening, we discovered that two owlets fledged, and made their way to a tree at the edge of the woods. A third remained in the nesting tree, but did venture out on a limb for a while. The parents stayed vigilant, their babies always in sight, and brought them food. That was day one.
Day 2 - All three stayed in their same places most of the day. In the late afternoon, the first two started stretching and flapping their wings, and making their way to higher limbs. The third remained in the nesting tree but located on a higher limb.
Day 3 - In the morning, we saw the three owlets and both adults. By mid-afternoon, two owlets huddled together on a limb. We didn't see the third owlet or the adults. When evening came, there was only one owlet.
Day 4 - One lone owlet sat in a tree all day long.
Day 5 - One lone owlet still sat in the tree early in the morning. By late morning, it was gone.
What a blessing and privilege it's been watching this wonder unfold!