We spent the afternoon on Memorial Day at Evergreen Cemetery in Boyle Heights, on the Eastside of Los Angeles. American flags and flowers were laid by the tombstones of many soldiers killed in battle.
In our own family, we have the custom of visiting our family graves, or o hakamairi (お墓参り), bringing fresh flowers and pouring water over the family tombstones in Japan, and lighting incense and praying to and honoring our ancestors in Taiwan (拜拜 bàibài), and Obaachama continues to do a daily practice of prayer (お祈りoinori) to her family members who came before us at home by the butsudan.
Evergreen definitely reflects the mix of cultures Boyle Heights is known for. I was surprised to see so many rows of Japanese American tombstones with names in kanji in East LA, even though Mike had shared this part of Boyle Heights history with me when he showed me his triptych of a Jewish American, Japanese American, and Mexican American soldier, each one looking optimistic during the beginning of WWII; and my friend had shared that many in her family, who are African American, were buried there also.
Seeing the actual tombstones and memorial to these soldiers buried here reminded me of this rich multicultural American history that is preserved here and the diverse hodgepodge of people and their families who have passed and contributed to the local history of this part of Los Angeles.
Thanks to Mike for taking me to Evergreen on Memorial Day, and for taking the shot of the statue and myself. Do you have your own experience visiting your family graves or Evergreen Cemetery? You can share in the comments below.