Memorial Day Tribute To Our Soldiers | Thank-You

Coral Drift Peonies

“Mother always took flowers to Daddy and his brother Daniel’s grave, both WWII vets on Memorial Day and we spent time tending the graves and remembering the families that are left with only memories of their loved ones that paid the ultimate sacrifice.” ~ Susan Fox
Peony Arrangement at P. Allen Smith's #G2B15
Peony Arrangement at P. Allen Smith’s #G2B15

Every Memorial Day Mother cut our peonies and put them on Daddy’s grave at Mt. Olivet.

Peonies were her favorite flower. They bloom long before roses in northern Illinois, one mile from the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. And peonies are bountiful in Illinois. The first rose usually blooms around Father’s Day in Northern Illinois. Before rose pruning we would apply a cup of bone meal around every peony bush to ensure a lush bloom each year. The list is long of what we learn from observing the actions of our parents. According to the theory of learning styles, students who have a predominantly kinesthetic style are thought to be discovery learners: they have realization through doing. Kinesthetics learners are also commonly known as “do-ers”* Since I am happiest ‘doing gardening’ or moving about, this feeling of the importance of a simple act of ‘doing something’ to honor those warriors that willingly paid it all seems important. Reverence, honor and respect for the memory of those that sacrificed for us and paved the way for our success is something we cannot put a price on. It’s intangible yet very real.

Raymond J. Proctor, Army Air Force WWII

Army Air Force WWII
Army Air Force WWII

Memorial Day Traditions

The impact of watching Mother cut peonies, and call anyone in the family that wanted to go visit the cemetery on Memorial Day every year leaves a deep impression to “do something” out of my reverence for those that served in the armed forces that instead of coming home from war could only leave their family with memories. The human need ‘to act’ is strong.

How Poignant That Mother Passed Away On Memorial Day Week-End In 1994

When we can we visit Salem WI on Memorial Day, where my sister-in-law, Martha lives. Salem is about 25 miles from where Daddy, his brother both WWII vets and my brother are laid to rest. Martha had been married to my brother Larry when he had a car accident coming home from work in a rain storm that cost him his life at 24 and left her with 4 year old daughter to raise. So we go visit the soldiers graves and take wreaths to place upon them.

The High Flyers In The U.K. During WWII

Army Air Force | High Flyers in England WWII
R.J. Proctor, my father 2nd from the left front row Army Air Force | High Flyers in England WWII

Pebbles Upon The Headstones

We saw the little pebbles that we placed there the last time we visited as is on old custom I learned. We sat on the ground and gently, quietly pulled weeds around the headstones and I remembered Daddy playing his clarinet and tapping his foot to the metronome along with famous clarinetist and Jazz Musician, Pete Fountain. or the Lawrence Welk show and we danced was the memories I had of Daddy in my time there with him. I thanked him and all the other soldiers that had served and died for our country.

Sergeant Raymond James Proctor | World War II
Sergeant Raymond James Proctor | World War II

WWII Post Card My Father sent Dated Feb 23, 1942 Daddy says, “We’re playing for Bing Crosby in person tonight to entertain the boys.” Feb. 23, 1942

WWII Post Card My Father sent Dated Feb 23, 1942 Daddy says, "We're playing for Bing Crosby in person tonight to entertain the boys." Feb. 23, 1942
WWII Post Card My Father sent Dated Feb 23, 1942 Daddy says, “We’re playing for Bing Crosby in person tonight to entertain the boys.” Feb. 23, 1942
Coral Drift Peonies
Peony Arrangement at P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm Last Week at the Garden 2 Blog Reunion #G2B15

Kinesthetic Learning Style

What we do is always being observed by our children, grandchildren and others. It can have a life long impact based on scientific studies like these findings by Margaret H. Doubler: According to the theory of learning styles, students who have a predominantly kinesthetic style are thought to be discovery learners: they have realization through doing, rather than thinking before initiating action. They may struggle to learn by reading or listening.

Learn By Doing

When learning, it helps for these students to move around; this increases the students’ understanding, with learners generally getting better marks in exams when they can do so. Kinesthetic learners usually succeed in activities such as chemistry experiments, sporting activities, art and acting; It is common for kinesthetic learners to focus on two different things at the same time, remembering things in relation to what they were doing. They possess good eye–hand coordination. In kinesthetic learning, learning occurs by the learner using their body to express a thought, an idea or a concept (in any field).”

*"Margaret H'Doubler wrote and spoke about kinesthetic learning during the 1940s, defining kinesthetic learning as the human body's ability to express itself through movement and dance. →(Perhaps Gardening)

A Rose Tribute To Memorial Day | In Loving Memory

Memorial Day
“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”
– James A. Garfield
May 30, 1868 Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Day
Memorial Day

The History of Memorial Day*

“Originally called Decoration Day, from the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags, Memorial Day is a day for remembrance of those who have died in service to our country. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868 to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former Union sailors and soldiers.

During that first national celebration, former Union Gen. and sitting Ohio Congressman James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there.

This event was inspired by local observances of the day that had taken place in several towns throughout America in the three years after the Civil War. In 1873, New York was the first state to designate Memorial Day as a legal holiday. By the late 1800s, many more cities and communities observed Memorial Day, and several states had declared it a legal holiday. After World War I, it became an occasion for honoring those who died in all of America’s wars and was then more widely established as a national holiday throughout the United States.

Veterans Honor photo by Dr. Tommy Cairns
Veterans Honor photo by Dr. Tommy Cairns

When Is Memorial Day?

In 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act and established that Memorial Day was to be celebrated on the last Monday of May. Several southern states, however, officially celebrate an additional, separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead, sometimes referred to as a Confederate Memorial Day: January 19 in Texas; third Monday in Jan. in Arkansas; fourth Monday in Apr. in Alabama and Mississippi; April 26 in Florida and Georgia; May 10 in North and South Carolina; last Monday in May in Virginia; and June 3 in Louisiana and Tennessee.

Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery each year with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. Traditionally, the President or Vice President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. About 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually.” * educating folks on the true meaning of Memorial Day

Let Freedom Ring photo by Dr. Tommy Cairns
Let Freedom Ring photo by Dr. Tommy Cairns

Daddy served in England during WWII. He never talked about it. Mother told me about what he went through. If you want to watch a 4 Star PBS series about living in England while they were under attack by the German Luftwaffe air raids and bombings during WWII watch the PBS series available on Netflix called Foley’s War. I highly recommend it. It gave me a better understanding of what it must be like to live in a country under the siege of war.

Thank-you Daddy.

Raymond James Proctor
Raymond James Proctor


*National Memorial Day Concert

Roses for Veterans Long Forgotten

Memorial Day, photo Weeks Roses

Memorial Day, photo Weeks Roses
Memorial Day, photo Weeks Roses

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, began after the American Civil War to commemorate Union and Confederate Soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century Memorial Day now honors all Americans who have died during military service.


The Natchez Trace Parkway | Highway 61


The Natchez Trace is a mysterious meandering trail along the mighty Mississippi River. Vicksburg, Mississippi is 20-30 NE of the Natchez Trace on Highway 61. Vicksburg is the home of Vicksburg National Military Park. Vicksburg was at the heart of the historic Vicksburg Campaign during the Civil War that raged from Dec. 29, 1862 – July 4, 1863 where almost 20,000 soldiers lost their lives.


Blues legend Edgar Winters captures the tragic irony of the road to Vicksburg in his song  Highway 61.


Some Lyrics from Highway 61

“Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”
God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin’ you better run”
Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
God says. “Out on Highway 61”.

Battle of Vicksburg
Battle of Vicksburg

Road Trip to Natchez, Mississippi


A few summers ago my husband and I decided to take a road trip along the Natchez Trace, stopping in Vicksburg, then go on to Natchez and Biloxi Mississippi. I had no idea how profoundly this trip would affect both my husband and I. Our first stop was at the Cedar Grove Mansion in Vicksburg, now a Bed & Breakfast along the Mississippi River.  A cannonball from the Civil War is still lodged in the wall from the battles raging along the Mississippi River. You can touch it, you can see the Mississippi river and imagine the ship firing the cannon and shattering the wood, lodging there, where it rests today.


Vicksburg National Military Park


The next day we went on to the Vicksburg National Military Park. This is the cemetery where Union soldiers are buried from the Vicksburg Campaign during the Civil War. The sheer numbers that I put on this page cannot impact you like a visit to this place where so many lost their lives. My husband and I went on this trip in the fall. The only other visitors we encountered were a few European couples. It was as if we had the entire place to ourselves. We actually toured the USS Cairo, a Union ship that two Confederate soldiers managed to sink. It was at the floor of the Mississippi for years. It has been raised and restored. We were the only people touring the boat, and it is magnificent.


Honoring Union and Confederate War Dead


The Vicksburg Military Park is now the permanent resting place of 17,000 Union Soldiers that died during the Vicksburg campaign and include some of the Union soldiers that died in the area including Millikan’s Bud, Champion’s Hill, Baker’s Creek, and Big Bend River.


Union Soldiers Vicksburg Campaign War Dead Union


Confederate Soldiers Vicksburg Campaign War Dead



Did you know that only two confederate soldiers were laid to rest accidentally in the Vicksburg Military Park? Approximately 1600 Confederate soldiers are buried in the Vicksburg City Cemetery. Families took the remaining bodies of other confederate soldiers home to be buried. It just never occurred to me that Confederate soldiers would not be buried in the cemetery of the commemorative battleground where they lost their lives. Visiting Vicksburg will take you back in time like no book could ever do.


Illinois State Monument Vicksburg
Illinois State Monument Vicksburg

The Illinois State Monument


There is a rotunda with 36,325 names of Illinois soldiers inscribed on the walls at the Vicksburg National Military Park. That’s just the names of soldiers from one state fighting in the Battle of Vicksburg.  We could scarcely take this in. It’s something one needs to experience in person. It will bring you to your knees.

Memorial Day 2013
Memorial Day 2013

I am profoundly moved that the first rose to bloom this Memorial day in my S. Central Illinois rose garden is a hybrid tea called Memorial Day. I dedicate the first bloom of

Memorial Day to 36,325 Illinois soldiers whose names are inscribed on the walls of the Illinois State Memorial at the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Let Freedom Ring photo by Dr. Tommy Cairns
Let Freedom Ring photo by Dr. Tommy Cairns

Let Freedom Ring

I would like to dedicate this picture kindly sent to me by Dr. Tommy Cairns of Let Freedom Ring to all the Veterans who have given their lives for our freedom.

Veterans Honor photo by Dr. Tommy Cairns
Veterans Honor photo by Dr. Tommy Cairns

Veterans Honor


Veterans Honor is for all the war dead that have given their lives for freedom.

We humbly thank all the families of the war dead for their supreme sacrifice of their loved ones as well.