so i’ve been in Minnesota since Saturday doing “media” for Soundset. i’ve been running around Bloomington, Minneapolis & Saint Paul the last couple days doing all the touristy things i wanted to do, but i’m most thankful to have visited Eyedea’s memorial. got to pay my respects to this legend. i hope you all get the chance to visit one day. 🙏

R.EYE.P.

10

Memorial Day: Covering an outpour of grief 

For my final assignments as an intern at The Flint Journal, I covered various memorial day services, including one at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich. I found it fitting that this internship would come to an end with me covering an outpour of grief. It’s something that, in addition to other things, I feel this internship has well prepared me for.  

My grandfather, a WWII veteran passed away while I was interning here. I found out while working on a story. I cried hard that day right in front of my subject. His memory kept crossing my mind with every service I attended. 

Approaching these individuals, I had a heavy heart but I knew that making these photos would only capture the feelings I had felt these past weeks myself. Empathy has always been a key point for my boss, Jake May, who covers a lot of spot news here in Flint. Anytime I’ve been nervous about taking photos in dire situations, he’s instilled me with purpose. This weekend was all encompassing of that principle. 

Every person I approached was understanding and kind to me. Not a single person questioned why I was taking these photographs. That spoke volumes to me and I’ll be forever grateful to them. After leaving the cemetery, I drove home in silence. 

Captions: 

1. Deandra Christiansen, 16, sobs at the gravestone of her late father, Eric Christiansen, following a Memorial Day service at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich. Eric served in the National Guard until his passing. “Today, brings back lots of memories of being with him. I was very proud. Not having him here for all the special things (is the most difficult part),” Deandra said

2. Beverley Shea, of Sterling Heights, lays flowers at the gravestone of her late husband with sister Xenia Martin and her sister’s husband Jim Martin following a Memorial Day service at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich.

3. Flags with hand written notes decorate the gravestone of Oliver Stevens, a bronze star recipient and D-Day veteran, following a Memorial Day service at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich. The Stevens family also signed the outside of Oliver’s coffin at his funeral.

4. Marion Portuesi is consoled by her husband David Portuesi while visiting the grave of her parents before a Memorial Day service at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich. Portuesi’s father, who passed away in 2010, served in World War II and the Korean war while her mother stayed on the home front. 

5. Lucille LeMarbe, 90, of Waterford, listens to remarks during a Memorial Day service at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich. “My Husband is buried here in the cemetery and I will also be buried here,” LeMarbe said. 

6. Bill Gramer, of Flint, bears the American flag during a Memorial Day service at the Flint McFarlan Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Flint. 

7. Amber Hackett, 79, visits the gravestone of her late husband, Dennis Hackett Jr., with her family following a Memorial Day service at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich. Dennis passed away on October 20, 2014 and it was the first time Amber had seen the headstone in person. 

8. Patrice Henderson, 50, of Detroit, sobs at the gravestone of her late father, John Henderson, following a Memorial Day service at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich. Henderson’s anchor and rope tattoo is in his honor. 

9.  Flowers rest on a gravestone following a Memorial Day service at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich. 

10. Anthony Kucharski, 33, of Royal Oak, kisses the grave stone of his father, Ronald W. Kucharski, a Vietnam veteran who passed away on October 5, 2013, following a Memorial Day service at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich. Anthony had been sitting whispering to the headstone “I love you daddy.”

In Memoriam

we don’t remember
we memorialize
white boxes holding bodies but not
dirt-grey-brown oblong abysses
of mass graves

boxes and bodies gone and forgotten and memorialized
transmogrified into rallying cries behind abstractions of
freedom and nationality, stagnant body-objects concealed
behind colors of blood, purity and catharsis
lines arranged in crosses or the semblance of being in alignment
thirteen stars or fifty
one or two days out of the year, they’ll wave

in the hands of the old white women in hoop skirts that insist
they remember
being shown the limitations of an agrarian society
while still upholding those gorgeous abstractions
states’ rights and being one with the land
the grey starch of those mismatched uniforms close enough to the shade of the dirt
of the shade of the skin of the human property
those 150-years-past memorialized half-wittingly fought to keep


they do not remember
that more men in that time died from disease
did not die of external fire but internal disease
of every variety?
at least then, they could forget
abandon illness on the battlefield
we do not memorialize the birth of nurturing
the evolution of the woman’s place the only
pleasant side-effect

we do not remember
those that made it home only to fight the war on poverty
the war on equality-
do we memorialize the military men-
Medgar Evers and his assassin?

we do not remember
that explosives are an entertainment source commemorating combat
that benefits only the non-serving citizen?
we only memorialize those that died overseas,
not those that died in a gas-chamber-of-their-own devices thinking
about those things done overseas
buried in a general-electric abyss
a mass grave of painful memorialize

they remembered, but we will not memorialize
those that died decades late
exposure from napalm or the workings on the atom bomb on
abroad red or native red sand
(tell the citizens of Nevada that their cancer is punishment for their sins)
we do not remember

Just civilian fallout, collateral to be expected
abstractions such as freedom and nationality
disrupt actuality,
brutality against the first amendment by a police force
practically militarized
against people led astray by abstract promises of equality and freedom
do not deserve a day of remembrance

we will not remember the present
we will only memorialize this into an abstraction
of the reality of nationality

Happy Memorial Day. Today we remember those countless brave men and women who gave their lives so we could live in freedom. Let’s hold all our fallen heroes in our hearts today and everyday. 

Photo of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background by Richard Paige (www.sharetheexperience.org).

4

With less than a month to go before the Queen’s Birthday Parade, the Household Division is busy rehearsing for this highlight in the ceremonial calendar.  This year the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, who are celebrating their centenary this year, will Troop their Colour in front of Her Majesty on Saturday 13th June on Horse Guards Parade.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.