“The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on life's parade shall meet
The brave and daring few.
On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.” – Bivouac Of The Dead, by Theodore O'Hara
Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated after the Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars. Many of us visit cemeteries and “decorate” graves on Memorial Day, and it is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season.
As writers, many of us can find fodder for our craft in the history of our wars and our ancestors who fought in them. My own father was a veteran of WWII and met my mother, a German nurse, during the American occupation. Their love story is the basis of one of my upcoming novels.
A friend of mine, Jennifer Wilke, has written a beautiful novel, The Color of Prayer, based on her great-grandfather, who served in the Civil War.
Simple scenes of family gatherings at lakes, picnics, or on campgrounds can serve as settings for your future stories.
Whatever you’re doing today, stop a moment and remember.
A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in North-central Arizona. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, won the national WILLA Award. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and is working on the next books in her “Dare to Dream” series.