As Memorial Day approaches, I find myself longing to be back home, visiting the local cemetery, and paying tribute to those loved ones who died in the line of duty. For years, my mother celebrated Memorial Day by purchasing a fresh floral arrangement of beautiful red, white and blue flowers for the church piano. The attached card read, “In memory of those who bravely died in service to our country.” After church, Mom took the flowers and divided them into two bouquets, taking one to (her first husband) Raymond Kelley’s small memorial in Fayette, Indiana, and the second bouquet to the grave of my father, Marvin Cavin, in Lebanon’s Oak Hill Cemetery. Both men fought in World War II. My father returned home
. . . Raymond did not.
When I interviewed my mother about her life during the 1940’s for When You
Come Home, I got a first-hand look at the cost of war and the heartache that ensued when a loved one headed off to train for a war in a far-off place. Young and carefree, Raymond Kelley left home one chilly November day in 1942- proud, scared, yet determined to serve his country . . . not realizing the price that he would pay. Less than a year later, his widow was left alone to grieve and to continue on in a country still obsessed with talk of war. It seemed impossible to escape the jarring headlines of the local newspapers, the constant updates
blaring from department store radios, or the snatches of war chatter floating around the local eateries.
The years went by and my mother remarried and moved on, but she never stopped loving and honoring her soldier. This Memorial Day, let’s make sure we never forget and always honor our soldiers; remember and appreciate the selfless and courageous people who valiantly served and died to keep our country free. Our gratitude should be never-ending.