I visited Willamette National Cemetery with my family this Saturday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend, joining the quiet throng of people who came to tend to the graves and pay their respects to their family members buried here.
After visiting my parents' marker, I wandered some, reading the stones, noting each age and branch of service and conflict. U.S. flags placed at each stone fluttered in the warm breeze.
People had left flowers at some of the graves, as simple as rhodies from the yard and as elaborate as florist arrangements.
It was quite a surprise to come across a different token of respect: a pack of cigarettes and a small bottle of whiskey carefully placed at the grave of a Merchant Marine World War II vet who died at age 81+. It brought a chuckle to me, and you've got to think the departed would find it amusing.