There are many things I could share from this week, but I’m opting instead for an encore presentation of a piece about Memorial Day that I wrote a few years ago.
This Monday we honor our war dead. All over the country families will be visiting cemeteries and war memorials, placing flowers, speaking in hushed tones or standing silent, mute in the remembrance of the lives of their loved ones cut short by war.
In small towns across America parades will form. Veterans who returned from battle will squeeze into their uniforms, take up their flags and rifles, and march down the street with somber yet proud faces as they remember the price they and the dead they honor paid for the opportunity to do so.
They’ll be joined by pretty young girls in brightly colored outfits, perhaps riding on the back of a convertible from the local car dealer, symbols of promise and hope for the future.
Scouts will be there, their blue or tan and khaki-green uniforms along with their youth suggesting the assurance that others are being trained to step forward should the inevitable take place again in their generation.
There’ll be several antique automobiles, reminding us of simpler times when there was still war but everything was less complicated, or seemed so anyway.
Riders on horses dressed in western wear, the quiet confidence of the smiling women and stoic men upon their steeds taking us back further to a time and place where promise and fulfillment seemed to ride together.
The local band will play. Perhaps it’s the high school band or maybe it’s the town band. Either way, the songs will be patriotic and notes will be missed, but the tunes will swell our hearts with pride even as we smile at their imperfect renditions.
Local politicians will be found somewhere near the front, hoping for all they’re worth that this appearance will tip the scale in their favor at the next election and thank-God-for-Memorial-Day-and-every-other-opportunity-to-be-seen-looking-good-and-not-having-to-answer-hard-questions.
The parade will likely end up at the cemetery where the veterans will stand at attention, words of appreciation and respect will be spoken, and rifles or cannons will be fired in salute to the sacrifice of blood, shed in the defense of liberty, that guarantees our safety until the next threat.
It’s appropriate that we should do such. To not honor our war dead would be unthinkable. To honor them once a year with a day and events set aside specifically for that purpose is elemental.
This Monday go to a parade. Go to some celebration honoring those who died to preserve our freedom. Go to the cemetery at least, and stand silently for a few moments next to the grave of a veteran. Realize what your ability to enjoy life as you know it cost that person individually.
Then remember what your eternal freedom cost Christ, and be thankful for both.
Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
As we honor the hours of Sabbath, the Creation Memorial Day, remember God’s great creative act in making a perfect home for mankind, and his re-creative act through the blood that was shed for our eternal freedom.
Tomorrow I will be teaching and preaching at Shelburne Falls. Monday we will be in northern Vermont for the memorial service of Edythe Newton, a longtime friend and shirttail relative. Tuesday is Pathfinder Investiture. (I had it wrong last week; it was regular Pathfinders.) Wednesday I will be in Canaan for prayer meeting. Friday morning I’ll be at the school. Next Sabbath I will be teaching and preaching at Berkshire Hills as we emphasize Adventist education. In the late afternoon, we will be attending the memorial service for another dear friend of many years, Dr. Susan Willoughby, at the College church in South Lancaster.
“I keep thinking that insanity is the state where a person can’t tell what’s real. Well, what’s real now is insane –
and if I accepted it as real, I’d have to lose my mind, wouldn’t I ?” Alisa Zinovievna Rosenbaum