Flowers on Memorial Day

By Patrick Fisher

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. One of the things it reminds me of is how flowers are associated with the day.

At ceremonies not only here, but around the country, wreaths will be placed in cemeteries and at memorials. Some ceremonies require placing them in front of a tomb. Nearly every year there's some news footage or pictures of the President of the United States placing a huge wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. At other ceremonies, I've seen a group of veterans holding a service near a river or stream and dropping a wreath into it in memory of those who served in the U.S. Navy or lost their lives at sea.

Also on Memorial Day, flowers will be placed at the graves of loved ones who never served in the military. Sometimes the flowers are wrapped around a message or the name of the relative. Other times it can be something simple such as a small bouquet or a few dandelions placed there by a child.

One of the most commonly used flower in our society is the rose, which comes in a rainbow of colors. Some roses have a variety of meanings, while others have only one. Red, white, pink and yellow roses have multiple meanings. Besides being romantic, a red rose also means courage and respect. A white rose is often a sign of reverence, while a pink rose can mean admiration, and yellow can mean either welcome back or remember me.

While flowers are nice to see, we should always remember those who gave their all for our country, as well as those who served and are still with us.

International Jazz Day

A lesser known day of recognition is International Jazz Day on Saturday, May 26.

The annual event was started relatively recently, in 1991, by jazz enthusiasts. It's held each year on the Saturday before Memorial Day and is basically a celebration of jazz music, one of the few musical art forms born in the United States.

Over the years, the celebration has become a world-wide observance, recognized on nearly every continent.

The celebration of International Jazz Day takes many forms. In some areas of the U.S. and Argentina, huge jazz festivals are held. It can also be enjoyed simply with a backyard cookout where a few friends can play their jazz CDs.

Since I love listening to jazz, I'll definitely be playing some on Saturday, possibly some of the classics by Louis Armstrong, or maybe a more recent artist.

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