Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Memorial Day of Remembrance & Hope

a man and woman carrying a blue banner of the Blairstown Rotary followed by a yellow rubber duck float at the town Memorial Day Parade

Join me in reflections on the Blairstown Memorial Parade honoring those that gave the ultimate sacrifice. We also hold in our hearts and honor those currently in service and those suffering from war’s physical and mental repercussions as we pray for peace.


Hello fellow readers, It is Memorial Day, as I write. A day of remembrance. A day to honor those that served and gave their lives to preserve our freedom. Yesterday we attended the Blairstown Memorial Day Parade. It was heartwarming to see the faces in the crowd, more than I ever remember, waving American flags. Greeting each other warmly, their smiles not hidden by masks.

Blairstown NJ Memorial Day Parade of Remembrance

The parade was to step off at 12:30, so we snagged a seat along the guard rail in front of Footbridge Park. It was approaching 1:15, and I joked they must still be blowing up the balloons (as they do for the NYC Thanksgiving Parade; I didn’t need to add.) Our neighbors chuckled at the thought.

an elderly man in a historic US Army jeep waving an American Flag at the Blairstown Memorial Parade of Remembrance

Al Carrazzone, a 95-year-old WWII Veteran, drew a pause.

Then the pomp and circumstances began with Givens-Belet Post #258 American Legion members, the parade sponsors since 1945. Military vehicles from way back when came next, one escorting Al Carrazzone, a 95-year-old WWII Veteran, drew a pause. There aren’t many WWII veterans left; my dad was one of them.

The North Warren Regional High school Marching Band and two groups of Bagpipes and Drums brought a boisterous beat of patriotic songs. A procession of fire engines, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles filled with volunteers that selflessly serve our safety participated in the parade. Then came antique cars and tractors, the latter I especially admired representing the agricultural history of where we are blessed to live.

The Knights of Columbus, the Blairstown Rotary, and the 1st Masonic District marched in the parade, as did Blue Star Mothers, whose mission is to support active service personnel and veterans.

The crowd cheered in glee over the “rubber ducky balloon.”

Jeanne Law, a client who has become a friend, and is the Secretary of the Rotary, joined us as the parade was underway. I asked if their iconic inflatable duck caused the delay. One of their members was standing atop the trailer assisting the duck’s ride. It seems the yellow fellow was tricky to maneuver in route. She smiled, “we were blowing it up, but we were on time.”

A woman wearing a straw hat and grey shirt wihth the Blairstown Rotary logo carrying a small American flag

Jeanne Law, Secretary of the Blairstown Rotary. Her big smile reflects her big heart.

How wonderful to see the joy in our youth sports teams’ faces, cheerleading squad, and scout troops marching or riding floats waving their flags. And hearing the delight from the children in the crowd cheering in glee over the “rubber ducky balloon.” They may not yet know the true significance of Memorial Day but felt the pride of the parade, many wearing and waving the red, white, and blue.

The Rotary’s Duck Race fundraiser, held at the Blairstown Fourth of July Event at Footbridge Park, supports the Hose Company and other community projects. You can buy tickets for only five bucks a duck through Hose Company and Rotary members (

a yellow rubber duck float leading a historic military vehicle towing an enormous cannon.

The paradox of pride and sadness paraded before us.

The paradox of pride and sadness 

While we celebrate veterans who gave their lives protecting our safety and freedom and those currently in service, there is also a deep sadness over lives lost and the physical and mental repercussions many veterans of war endure. The paradox paraded before us with the delightful duck leading a historic military vehicle towing an enormous cannon that once killed.

Memorial Day of Remembrance & Hope 

May the future unfold to a time when there is no war or weapons. Perhaps if enough of us nurture cooperation in the spirit of love during adversity, we’ll sprout new generations of leaders seeking peace rather than greed and revenge. It starts at home.

Garden Dilemmas? (and your favorite Podcast App.)

a singe red poppy rising above the fern-like fuzzy foliage in a garden

The significance of poppies adds to the honor and beauty of growing them in your garden.

The Significance of Poppies 

I received a photo of her poppy in bloom from a dear client on Memorial Day. Poppies symbolize Veterans Day, which stems from a powerful poem titled Flanders Fields (link to story below). It’s also the official flower of the American Legion and National Poppy Day is the Friday before Memorial Day, where donations for the paper poppies support veterans and their families.

Link to a related story honoring our veteransHistory of Veterans Day Poppies and Meaning of Memorial Day – A Little Hope  

I hope you’ll tune into the audio version of this story which includes the significance of precious poppies: 



Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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