Memorial Day – taking time for stopfulness

Looking back on a New England, Fifties childhood, Memorial Day plays across memory with saturated color: deep green leaves, shady small-town streets, sparkling uniform buttons and band instruments, and the deep red, white and blue of flags snapping in the breeze as veterans stepped off in the annual parade. More than Fourth of July and its full-on summer celebration, Memorial Day fit its purpose as a day to pause and remember.

On Monday as the Boothbay Memorial Day parade begins it will repeat a pattern – like taps on the morning breeze – that probably echoes across innumerable New England hills and shores. Exactly like the parade in another place and another time distant from here, Boothbay’s commemorations move from place to place, the parade, disbanding and reassembling to reach another memorial to her citizen soldiers, too far across town to march the whole route.

As deep as New England’s roots extend, so does the record of those remembered, who made the ultimate sacrifice for country and the way of life we continue to enjoy, centuries on since Maine was the frontier.

Here at Spruce Point Inn, the flags and red geraniums will carry the signal that it’s always important to pause and remember. The prosaic expression is “stop and smell the flowers.” We like “stopfulness,” defined as a conscious effort to slow down, gather in the sensory and emotional experience of the moment, to purposefully create “oceanside memories made in Maine” that the children will remember when they look back across half a century.

Veterans, we celebrate the living and value the full expression of your service by honoring those we’ve lost. On this Memorial Day, we wish everyone the gift of taking time for stopfulness.