Reporting Bill Hudson
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Memorial Day is this Monday, a day when Americans remember those who gave their lives for their country. Many families are busy decorating the graves of loved ones before services on Monday.
And for most, that means bouquets of flowers or planting an American flag.
But there’s one grave at Fort Snelling National Cemetery that’s most unusual — A gravestone with a watermelon laid at its base.
There are many ways to honor the fallen. Amid the waves of etched markers, flags and flowers — Fort Snelling is dressing up for the big day.
The Memorial Day tradition dates back to 1868. A day designated for the strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of the fallen.
David Konetski is that “otherwise.” Walking the green grass to place it against the white marble, he lays his father’s favorite treat — a watermelon. It’s a tradition he’s continued for more than 30 years.
“Life’s wonderful,” he said, while placing the large fruit. “I miss you.”
David was just a teen when his father died at the age of 56. He’s been honoring William Dale Konetski like this ever since.
“That time in my life, it was all I had,” he said. “I lost him and it was very emotional.”
It’s happy memories of his dad’s love for watermelon that gave David the idea.
“Every night I’d come home and see dad at the kitchen table eating melon — and he had a theory, the rounder, the better and the darker skin, the more flavor it had,” he said.
And he was more about fish than flowers — so to this loving son, it’s the watermelon that’s a fitting sign of honor.
David was also raised by his grandfather, who is buried in another cemetery.
A grandpa who loved to smoke white owl cigars. So, it’s no secret what is placed at his gravestone.