Family's Memorial Day tradition spans generations

Published: May. 25, 2020 at 9:38 AM CDT
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An Omaha woman's Memorial Day tradition to visit the graves of her family and friends has been going on for decades.

For more than 40 years now, Patricia Brown has been observing Memorial Day the exact same way.

"Every year I just know on Sunday, so you have all your flowers and I'll meet you and we go to all of these graves," Bridget Brown, Patricia's daughter tells 6 News. "And do all of this."

The whole process takes a few hours to do. At 82 years young, it's not as easy for Ms. Patricia as it used to be.

"It gets a little harder, the standing up and the bending over," Patricia said. "You know, but I'm gonna keep doing it."

Throughout the years, Patricia's list of loved ones to visit has grown but she still knows exactly where all of the graves are. She says you just need to follow a path and it's easy to do.

"Margie's first then Aunt Maybel, then Uncle Leroy. Then come on down here to momma and daddy. Beverly and Robert are over there, Mr. and Ms. Harness are over there and my brother is over there. And the same thing at Forest Lawn," Patricia said with a smile.

Each grave is cleaned so it shines, then she puts in the flowers and a pinwheel she knows they'll love. Each flower meticulously was chosen based on the person they're there for.

"I got these for my mother's grave. These silk flowers for my mother's grave, mmhm. And she has a black headstone and so I put these in her vase over there," she said showing off the bouquets.

When her own kids were growing up, they would go with her year after year. Now their kids' kids are joining their great grandmother. Maxwell Carter flew in from Atlanta to spend the summer in Omaha, he's 8 years old but will be 9 in July.

"You have to appreciate the ones we have now, and that's for all you spoiled kids too," Carter said with a laugh. "You have to appreciate who you have now and just, cause everyone is not going to be around forever."

By teaching generation after generation to remember the ones before them, Ms. Patricia hopes that even long after she's gone, they'll come back to visit her every Memorial Day too.

"I just hope that they keep it up. You know, cause this is my ministry. This is my legacy or whatever, you know. Cause I'm here to serve," Patricia said.

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