Memorial Day Tribute

Memorial Day Tribute at Courthouse

Memorial Day Tribute at Old Courthouse © 2012 Bo Mackison

 Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong. ~ James Bryce

Memorial Day 2012.

Sherpa and I had a fair amount of driving time scheduled for this holiday weekend. Wisconsin to Iowa to Missouri to Illinois, and then across Illinois from the farthest city on the western border of Illinois, through the heart of the state,  a swing to Milwaukee before finally heading home to Madison – where we collapsed in a heap of tired bones and weary minds.

We accomplished a huge number of things, including several family events that were celebratory. And as is now my habit while traveling and collecting large numbers of miles on the odometer, I kept my big camera in the back seat, snug in its camera bag, and photographed whatever caught my eye with my iPhone.

We took a detour off the interstate, mid-Illinois, after half a day of swerving through holiday traffic, and followed the scenic road along the Illinois River from Dixon (childhood home of Ronald Reagan) to Rockford. As we passed through Dixon, we noticed a display of flags on the old Courthouse lawn. Needing to stretch anyway, we got out and walked around the Courthouse Square.

There was a temporary tribute for Memorial Day entitled “Lest We Forget” and I took a few photos. Each cross or star represented a soldier killed in war from the Dixon area.

Dixon Illinois - Huge Oak on Courthouse Lawn

Dixon Illinois - Huge Oak on Courthouse Lawn © 2012 Bo Mackison

As we walked back to the car, I noticed a truly gigantic oak on the southern side of the Courthouse. I am not experienced enough to give a guess at the age of this tree, but I could not reach my arms around it and touch my fingers together.

I wondered how old this tree was, and how it looked at different periods of history.

Would it have been a young sapling during the Civil War? Probably, as the courthouse was built in the 1850s. Surely it was tall and provided a comforting shade during the hot summers throughout World War I, and has continued to do so these many years.

I saluted this giant oak as I left the square, witness to over a century and a half of history.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Joanne Keevers says:

    I do hope that you and Sherpa have recovered from your tired bones and weary minds by now Bo. If the USA is anything like Australia, and I’m quite sure it is, holiday weekends are the worst time to travel, because that’s what everyone is doing and there is extra traffic to contend with.

    The huge oak tree was a wonderful find. 🙂

  2. What a gorgeous old oak..and a wonderful tribute to Memorial Day!

  3. Gandalf says:

    A very nice tribute to our soldiers. The small towns often seem more genuine, but that is probably an inappropriate slighting of larger cities.

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