This Monday is Memorial Day, a holiday on which we remember in a special way all of the men and women who served in the armed forces and sacrificed their lives protecting our country and its freedoms. It was originally a day to remember the lives lost in the Civil War, but it was eventually broadened to encompass all wars and armed conflicts. Sadly, there have been many of them over the course of our nation’s history.
In fact, there are service men and women who, even in our present day, are putting their lives on the line in troubled areas of the world. Apart from the political and moral differences concerning the rationale for placing our service men and women in harm’s way, one common sentiment of gratefulness arises on such a day when we honor the patriotism, commitment and selflessness that has led to their ultimate sacrifice. Without such dedicated people, as a country, we would not be what we are today.
To remember… that’s what this day asks of us. When we do that, it cannot help but engender gratitude. This holiday has been considered by some as a kind of civic religious day of remembrance not unlike Thanksgiving. Originally called Decoration Day, on this Memorial Day, we decorate the graves of our fallen service men and women with flags, wreaths and flowers. Stories of their bravery and sacrifice fill our minds and hearts with inspiration, wonder and thankfulness. We do them a service as we remember them and honor them, and pray for the repose of their souls. Each one had a very personal and unique history, which only their family members, friends and comrades can now tell. We come to realize anew what great toll their loved one’s death has taken on those left behind. Their remembrances are touched with the pain of loss and the sadness at what was not to be.
May our prayer at Mass and our personal prayers offered on this Memorial Day weekend, include a grateful remembrance – not only for the men and women who have given their lives to protect us, but also for their family members and friends who still grieve their loss, that God will bless them with healing, comfort and peace.
God bless you!
Fr. BobBACK TO LIST