Memorial Day – what it is, and isn’t
Memorial Day is a day to remember all who have given the ultimate sacrifice, themselves, to provide the freedom we all enjoy. Memorial Day is NOT just a three day weekend to shop or throw an awesome barbeue and have an extra day off of work.
Today is a day to take the time to pay tribute to our fallen heroes. In the words of General John Logan, General Order No. 11, May 5, 1868:
“"...gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime....let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation's gratitude,--the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan."
Tomb of Unknown Soldier photo by Terry Buckwalter, © 1993 Smithsonian Institution
A wonderful website that provides a tremedous amount of information to honor our Nation’s heroes is http://www.usmemorialday.org and is on the website courtesy of SUVCW & David Merchant (EM1, USN, 1982-1988 and USNR 1990-1992) respectively.
This prayer By Rev. Dick Kozelka (ret), First Congregational Church of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN speaks more eloquently than I can convey this day:
Creator of years, of centuries,
Lord of whatever is beyond time,
Maker of all species and master of all history --
How shall we speak to you
from our smallness and inconsequence?
Except that you have called us to worship you
in spirit and in truth;
You have dignified us with loves and loyalties;
You have lifted us up with your lovingkindnesses.
Therefore we are bold to come before you without groveling
[though we sometimes feel that low]
and without fear
[though we are often anxious].
We sing with spirit and pray with courage
because you have dignified us;
You have redeemed us from the aimlessness
of things' going meaninglessly well.
God, lift the hearts of those
for whom this holiday is not just diversion,
but painful memory and continued deprivation.
Bless those whose dear ones have died
needlessly, wastefully [as it seems]
in accident or misadventure.
We remember with compassion those who have died
serving their countries
in the futility of combat.
There is none of us but must come to bereavement and separation,
when all the answers we are offered
fail the question death asks of each of us.
We believe that you will provide for us
as others have been provided with the fulfillment of
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."