Memorial Day 2015

Since my return to sketching, I’ve sketched at a veteran’s memorial near each Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  It is a tribute and a meditation of the sacrifice.  Today I went to Tahoma VA National Cemetery.   Tomorrow it will be very crowded with all those attending the official ceremonies.  Today, there were people quietly visiting their fallen loved ones and leaving flowers.

I left flowers at the grave of the only Civil War veteran buried at Tahoma.

I also brought flowers for the grave of the first soldier killed in Afghanistan.  However, his grave already had flowers.  So I left mine at the nearby grave of another soldier KIA in Afghanistan.

I then settled in to sketch the marker of the soldier I’d picked for today’s sketch.  My choices are random.  This one had a wreath and was just across the street from the above grave site.

This year, I later looked up more information about the soldier.

Tahoma is beautifully situated.  There are tall trees all around.  Today, the clouds hung low, gray and threatening.  On a better weather day, Mt. Rainier can be seen towering in the near distance and adds even more majesty to this holy ground.

I saw coins on several headstones.  I looked it up when I got back home.  There is some debate about the tradition and the meaning of denominations of coins.  However, it is generally regarded as a token of visitation.

I’ve done something each year:
2013 it was raining so I sewed bears for Fisher House



About redharparts

Born in Michigan. Attended undergrad and graduate universities there. I've lived in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state). I'm a retired Medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology. I've enjoyed exploring historical re-creation through the SCA. I costume in several fandoms. Lately I've returned to Art and have taken up Urban Sketching, a version of en plein air painting.
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8 Responses to Memorial Day 2015

  1. Fabio says:

    Well remembered!

  2. Diana Jackson says:

    makes me cry every time I see these tombs for such young people. thank you for the remembrance.

    • redharparts says:

      Thanks for your comment, Diana. Yes, it is very sad. The cemeteries like this one make it very clear how huge our losses are. All that potential, lost to war.

  3. joantav says:

    I always find it so moving to visit a cemetery where there are flags on the graves. It makes you really stop and think about those who gave so much. Nice sketch done there. For the last few years I have tried to attend one of the Memorial Day Ceremonies in one of the local towns. Today I was early enough to see part of the parade too while I sketched.

    • redharparts says:

      Thanks, Joan. Yes, it is very moving. I usually avoid the larger celebrations due to the crowds. Also hard to sketch with large crowds. If I still lived in my small home town, it would be different.

  4. redharparts says:

    This is so bittersweet. I had tried to find this family a year ago when I sketched the headstone at the Tahoma National VA cemetery. His mother just found my sketch and sent this message: “I am the mother of SGT Andrew M and just came across your beautiful sketch of my son’s grave. I so appreciate your honoring Andrew’s memory with your talents. The sketch is beautiful. With Andrew being buried in Washington and us as his parents living in xxx, it warms my heart to know that others are visiting the cemetery and remembering Andrew. Thank you. I would love a copy of your beautiful sketch if possible. Again, thank you. Sincerely, Kathy M” Since I’m distributing older originals, I’m going to offer to send her the original, though it’s not yet part of the time frame I’m distributing.

  5. Pingback: Lest we forget….. | Red Harp Arts

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