Memorial Day 2011
Here we stand, in the waning days of Spring, looking toward the days of summer, enjoying the long sunlit days and the yet cool nights and remembering. Remembering joys past, yearnings that are now realities, longings that are satisfied now or not. Remembering those who no longer know yearnings or longings, those who have returned their life force to the Creator and who are now gifted with the knowledge of what comes after life has discarded its mortal temple.
I read in the paper yesterday the question, “what war’s dead are we honoring on Memorial Day?” Of course, the answer is “all of them. Although the practice of decorating veterans’ graves on the 30th of May came to be after the War between the States, it has been adopted formally as a day to remember all those who have given their lives for the good of the country. Personally, I extend my prayers of remembrance to include those firemen, police officers and other public servants who have made the ultimate sacrifice during efforts to make life better for the human species. Not only should we remember, we should be thankful, for they gave us their life so that we might continue ours.
A good friend sent me an e-mail yesterday that he had found in a column by Tom Ehrich entitled “Memorial Weekend Regret” lamenting the fact that he had let a knee injury exempt him from the draft during the Vietnam war. He was glad at the time but has come to regret that he failed to do his duty to his country.
He has come to understand: “America means more than wealth and toys for the few, and taxes and obligations for everyone else. The America whose flag I proudly salute is about freedom, justice and equal rights. It is about shared burdens, helping the weak, and facing challenges.”
Today, this year, this century these are our principles, our goals and the things men and women have given their lives for. Remember their sacrifices and do your duty to strive toward these principles which are not mere gifts; but which must be earned. Once earned, they must be maintained and openly honored, not by words alone; but, by deeds, personal acts that secure and reinforce the rights our founding ancestors proclaimed. Until every citizen of this nation has the same rights, our sacrifice is demanded. Our goal must be honest equality of opportunity. That is the principle that helps justify the sacrifices we remember this day. Let us all not just plant flowers or mumble prayers before the picnic, let us commit our lives and our sacred honor to Liberty and Justice for ALL.
Dept of Defense 1965-1995