It is one of the most moving and thought-provoking national holidays. Memorial Day is set aside to pay tribute to those who were killed in battle while serving in the United States military. Flags will fly, people will celebrate, attend barbecues, spend time on boats or at the park.
We walk by the monuments and graveyards and at some point the twinge of remembrance must go deeper than the celebratory. It has to go deep. We must come together to remember why. Politics and division should give way to memory and sacrifice. The names, the wars, the battlefields, the granite markers are not simply numbers or words - they are real stories of beautiful lives.
The stories of who we are as a people and a nation. The son, daughter, husband, father, wife, mother, brother and sister who believed in this country. They stood and served. They walked forth in service, and their blood spilled. Precious lives for the ideals and promise of the United States. Why? The knowing that all want the same thing - freedom, kindness, hope, love, laughter and liberation from oppression. The belief this country can make a difference in this world for good. The United States represents hope - for everyone. Let us remember and call forth the “better angels of our nature.”
The words written long ago should mean something. There is a reason for “we the people” rather than “I the individual.” Meaning in “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” Clarity in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
This weekend, go deep and recall the more than 1.3 million Americans killed in our wars. Let us take a moment to pray and offer our gratitude. O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. (Book of Common Prayer pg. 839)