May 30 – Rest, comrades

Rest, comrades, rest, sleep.
Yours, the suffering been. Ours,
shall be memory

My Great Uncle Peter De Young, Wounded in Action, August, 1918 Juvigny, France
Photograph of the 32nd Division in action at Juvigny, France, August, 1918

Decoration Day

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry’s shot alarms!

Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon’s sudden roar,
Or the drum’s redoubling beat.

But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.

All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When I was a kid, Decoration Day or Memorial Day was May 30th.

My Grandpa Hendricson would pick my Hendrickson cousins on the south end of Grand Rapids and then drive to the North End and pick up the Hoffman’s and take us to the Memorial Day Parade in downtown Grand Rapids.

Off to the John Ball Park Zoo after the parade and then to Grandma’s house on Elliot St. and pick up Grandma Hendrickson and pots pans of Chili and Goulash, wrapped in newspaper and tied up with string.

With about 10 kids, Grandpa and Grandma in the car, Grandpa drove over to Aunt Wanda’s or Aunt Joan’s house for the family picnic.

It was a great day to be a kid.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s