When I was a kid

I thought that

Decoration Day

was the day

we decorated our bicycles.

The parade was a spectacle

that marched by our home

and all of it was party-like.

Crepe paper streamers

were woven into our spokes

and we rode along

without much thought of anything

but play and eating ice cream.

Some flags were waved

but they were just a part

of our good times.

Then one day

when I was old enough

to be a drummer in our band

I was part of the parade

and we marched to a cemetery

behind an open car

where  two Civil War Vets rode

and ahead of them

several Vets from World War I

which, at that time, was:

The War to End All wars..

I then began to slowly understand

why we were there.

In my last parade before some Navy time

one of our classmates from our school

became the first casualty from our small town.

Ray Dowd, I will never forget

and the gold star displayed in the window

of where he used to live.

Though much has happened

between that time and now

he is the one I most remember

as May comes to a close each year.

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