Gather my faithful ones before me,
those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
From Psalm 50
Our Memorial Day observances traditionally recount the sacrifice made by those who gave their lives in service to this country. Whether they were drafted into service or they enlisted by choice, each one fulfilled an obligation which he or she accepted to the point of death. Though some may have wrestled with doubt, wondering if anything was worth dying for, we know the final outcome. This weekend, tens of thousands of flags decorate their graves. These flags herald those who completed, as best they could, what they set out to do.
Our Memorial Day remembrances have grown to include all of those who have passed from this life to the next. Though they may not have donned military uniforms to endure the trials of battle, those whom we mourn assumed a role of great importance to us. Whether our mother or father, our husband or wife, our child, our relative or our friend, those whom we mourn did precisely what our military personnel did. They responded to what they saw as their roles in this life, and they fulfilled those roles as best they could. At times, our loved ones achieved great success, and their impacts upon our lives were sources of great joy or growth or satisfaction. At times, they failed miserably, and their impacts upon us were precisely the opposite. Perhaps they walked away for a while from a father, a mother, a spouse, a child or a friend. Both military personnel and civilians can be tempted to be AWOL from a commitment that seems to require too much. In the end, we mourn our loved ones, sometimes because of their humanity and sometimes in spite of it.
Loving God, Comfort those who gave their all in service of our country and of those you gave them to love. May each one enjoy life anew with you. Bless also we who continue to serve you, our country and one another with courage, wisdom and love.
©2013 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved