Lewis-Clark Memorial Gardens was blooming and busy Sunday, as people came to remember loved ones and friends who have died with plants, flowers, mementos and personal care.

The Lewiston Orchards cemetery was awash with color, as no doubt were many of the region's burial grounds this Memorial Day weekend. Although clouds threatening rain hovered overhead, nary a drop touched the bouquets, baskets, pinwheels and flags adorning most of the cemetery's headstones by mid-day.

About 14 members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10040 were up bright and early Sunday to start placing flags on soldiers' graves at about 7 a.m. Post Commander Edwin Heinle of Lewiston said the crew decorated about 875 graves, both in and out of the designated Veterans' Plot at the cemetery.

At 11 a.m., the VFW gave a short ceremony honoring all veterans, and played taps. A small group of people looked on, mostly standing around graves of family members and friends.

Heinle said he and his group were setting memorial flags next to more than a few familiar gravesites. The group is called to serve in the military portion of many veterans' funerals. ''It gives us kind of a solemn feeling,'' Heinle said.

Heinle's post conducted a ceremony Sunday because it was a fitting day to pray for those who were lost in battle, he said. Many similar ceremonies and celebrations are planned today throughout the region.

Before, during and after the VFW ceremony, cars drove in and out of the cemetery as people gathered to remember.

Sisters Aloha Lamphier and Nita Foreman of Lewiston visited the graves of their sister, Joyce Cox, and of Foreman's husband, Fred, who served in World War II. Each Memorial Day weekend, they spruce up the gravesites and decorate them with flowers.

''We wouldn't think of not doing this,'' Lamphier said.

''It makes me feel good, but sad,'' Foreman said. ''I feel so sorry for those (grave markers) that are empty. It's very sad.''

They also remarked that they hope the memorials they left will not be pilfered by vandals, as has been happening in recent weeks around Lewiston.

''I can't imagine someone doing something like that,'' Foreman said. ''It seems so heartless.''

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