Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

As a little girl, I lived close to the Philadelphia City National Cemetery. Limekiln Pike is the next street over, parallel to Cedar Park Avenue, where we lived. Haines Street is a block and a half down from where we lived and runs diagonally toward Limekiln Pike. To get to the cemetery, we just walked to the end of our block, turned right and walked to the next street corner, which is Limekiln Pike. You can read about this beautiful cemetery at

If you search Google Maps for this cemetery, you'll see that there is a small parcel of land between where we lived and East Haines Street. When I was a little girl, this was an open, grassy area where we would go to play in the nice weather. Across the street was a Presbyterian church that had beautiful pine trees which we loved to climb. We could walk down East Haines Street to attend William Rowen Public School, but we usually didn't because the intersection to get to the school was much busier than our alternate route. Instead, we walked down 69th Avenue, crossed Ogontz Avenue, and walked down Ogontz to get to school. I loved that school!

Anyway, back to the cemetery... living so close to a national cemetery helped instill a feeling of patriotism in all the children of the neighborhood. We could hear the beating of the marching bands' drums from our homes as parades headed toward the cemetery. Since we lived so close, we could quickly get close to all the excitement and enjoy the parades. Is it any surprise that one of my favorite composers is John Philip Sousa?

I have fond memories of my childhood. I loved the neighborhood where I lived for my elementary school years. I loved my school. I loved my neighbors. Most of all I loved that we lived so close to a national cemetery that we could participate in the celebrations that honored our military heroes. There are many military heroes in my family... my father, my grandfathers, all of my uncles. No, they didn't all serve in war zones, but they did serve our country and I am proud of them all. All military personnel are heroes to me.

Every Memorial Day I am reminded of all the blessings available to my family and me because we live in this great country. Thank you to all who have served, and especially those who have sacrificed their health and their lives to keep us all free. May we never forget those sacrifices or take our freedom for granted.


  1. Happy Memorial Day! We are truly blessed to live in this great country. It has not come by a small price, either. Thanks! Hope you and yours are having a great weekend. :)

  2. That was a lovely post Diane, I enjoyed reading about your memories.

  3. Wonderful post, Diane - thank you for sharing those memories with us.

  4. May 21 1944...a battalion of SS troops traversing France sowing fear arrived in my village of Frayssinet le Gelat. First they hung a womon of sixty six from her balcony, before doing the same to two of her nieces. They wanted people to give them information about resistance troops and arms...they went on to line up and publicly shoot some twenty two men including the 23 yr old schoolmaster, a young man of 18 tried to run away, and was shot in the back... the villagers were then locked in the church overnight while the troops ransacked the village, they released them in the morning and marched them up to the cemetary, and forced them to dig a hole and dump their dead into it.
    My neighbours still remember that day.
    Oh 'tis a wonderful thing to be a soldier!
    Diane, you don't need to show this, but I have read too many posts about memorial day..I just needed to get this off my chest. Humans are capable of terrible things in the name of fighting, and we must surely stop them, as we would kids bullying in the playground. Might is not right..

  5. Happy Memorial Day from Canada!

    Your post to-day was beautifully written and touching.

    My dad was an officer in the RCAF in Europe during WW2. Every time I see a military plane, I feel so proud of him. Your post reminded me of this. : ) Fox

  6. Such a touching written piece.
    Happy Memorial Day!!!

  7. Hi there, thanks for popping by my blog and for your understanding of the hail storm we have just been through - it was really scary! My Grandather served in WWII in the RAF and sadly lost his life like so many others. I too am very proud of all these heroes.

  8. Lovely post, Diane...Yes, we are blessed to live in this great wonderful country. You have great memories! Take care...Linda

  9. Diane, that was such a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing your touching memories with us all. My father is a Korean War vet, my great aunt was a WAVE in WWII, Dave's father was a WWII vet and Dave is a Vietnam vet so patriotism is high on our list.

    My dad was a historian/park ranger with the National Park Service while I was growing up, and one of the more unusual places we lived was on the grounds of Fort McHenry (in Baltimore) where Francis Scott Key wrote the "Star Spangled Banner". The visitors center there has an amazing presentation that ends with a curtained wall slowly opening while the anthem plays. Very touching!


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