On July 4th, I have memories of visiting the graves of family members . Both sides of my family had graves locally. My mother would bring a plant and spend some quiet time besides each plot. My dad would walk among the graves stopping here and there, lost in a memory.
As a child and a teenager, I would amuse myself reading the tombstones noting the birth and death dates. I wished that our tradition in this country was to place a small photo of the loved one for visitors to recall the departed.
We would drive to Plymouth, a nearby town to stop at the graves of my grandparents and great aunts and uncles. My mother’s family members were buried in Chelsea Michigan.
After my second marriage, my husband and I would drive across the state to the east side to visit John’s father’s grave. To my surprise, the cemetery was full of Turnbulls and Farnsworths.
I recognized many of the names from each side of the family.
When I returned home, I asked my Dad about the Turnbulls in that rural area. My Dad told me that there were many Turnbulls in the thumb area. Then he continue to tell me that his cousins had lived in the thumb and invited my Great grandfather and his family to try farming in Michigan. My great grandfather, his wife and the two children one was my Grandfather, moved from Ontario Canada to try farming on this side of Lake Huron.
Though my Grandfather’s family returned to Canada, There still are many Turnbulls in the area.
Wandering through the graves there were many Farnsworths related to the Turnbull’s by marriage.
I find peace in walking where ancestors once stood and lived.
Our country is filled with family connections forming a people. Some of the stories are well worn. Others are unknown. All played a part in who we are as individuals and as a country.
So take some time from your Independence Day to ponder these ancestors in our family and friends who lived and paved the way for us. Those connections build a strong community and nation. Give thanks and consider what legacy we are passing to others. Will we use the forged connections to strengthen us or use the conflicts to break us apart. The choice is ours.
Happy Independence Day.