In Brandon, “small but powerful” flower girl tradition continues - Brandon Reporter

In years past, a parade of first-grade girls in white dresses would circle the Brandon war memorial, leaving flowers at its base. This year the solemn responsibility fell to just two girls, Emily Mendiola and Marion LaPorte.

“Every Memorial for the last 120 years or so, a line of first grade girls in white dresses and carrying fresh flowers walks up to the Civil War monument in Central Park. The girls circle the monument and lay their flowers at the foot of the statue. It is a uniquely Brandon tradition beloved by everyone who witnesses it. The flower girls were even the focus of a 2016 film by Civil War historian and Brandon resident Kevin Thornton called “Death in the Wilderness.” This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented public gatherings in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus and the usual Memorial Day parade and ceremony in Central Park was not possible. However, two girls donned white dresses and kept the tradition alive.

The photo recalls the immortal lines by Macauley from Horatius at the Bridge:
Then out spake brave Horatius
The Captain of the Gate:
“To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods,

“And for the tender mother
Who dandled him to rest,
And for the wife who nurses
His baby at her breast,
And for the holy maidens
Who feed the eternal flame,
To save them from false Sextus
That wrought the deed of shame?"


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