Today. The real Memorial Day, 5/30, my dad's birthday. Lost him 7 years ago this month.
I spent yesterday on the bike attending a tour of Portland's Vanport, the "town" that was built below river level and flooded Memorial Day, 1954. Wiped off the map in hours. Every building completely destroyed. What remains is one concrete slab; the floor of the theater.
It was built by Henry Kaiser early in World War 2 to house workers imported from the south east to build ships for the war effort on very low land that was otherwise unused because it flooded regularly. High levees protected it. Houses were built overnight, no foundations; thousands to house 40,000 people. To the irritation of the proper Portlanders, these families didn't leave after the war was over. They were valued so little that no mention was made that the huge rainfalls and floods of the winter of 1954 putting the Columbia river 20' higher than normal was putting the entire town with exactly one way out at real risk. The only reason only ~9,000 people died was because the flood happened mid-afternoon on Memorial Day. Families were off seeing the parades. Came home to absolutely nothing.
Memorial Day for me will now take on a third meaning and yert5 another reminder that life is not to be taken for granted.