For Painful Remembrance

On my fifty sixth Memorial Day, I need to be reminded not to forget the sacrifices made by my fellow countrymen.  This is not a vacation day.  This is a day meant for the hard work of painful remembrance.  This is a day to slog through the mud of the battlefields, the searing heat of the deserts, the dripping humidity of the jungles, the icy snowbanks of wintertime battle fronts.

I do not want to forget what it means to get up each morning clothed in liberty, and fall asleep each night without fear.  We are meant to cry this day, to weep over the loss of life over the generations, the losses in battles that continue to this day.

The cost of staying free must not bankrupt our souls even as it taxes our resources.   Once we forget, if even one of us forgets, then the battle comes home, moves inside us, and we will never truly be free.

Today is a day for weeping.  We shed tears of grief over who we have lost and continue to lose, and tears of gratitude for what they have given us through their shed blood.

3 thoughts on “For Painful Remembrance

  1. For these surveys that float through cyberspace, I always answer “When was the last time you cried?” with “I cry a little bit every day.” Indeed, as you have pointed out so poignantly, there are fibers of sacrifice and loss and sadness woven integrally into our bright tapestries of prosperity, pride, and liberty. Honoring them is not morose; it’s honest and it keeps us humble. My father and Connie’s father both died earlier than they might have at least indirectly due to conditions contracted in civilian war support, so I tend to be more inclusive than just the uniformed military effort for those to whom I am thankful; the lives put on the line in combat were supported by others who built the ships and the planes and the munitions, very little of which is particularly healthy for those doing the work.

    I’m thankful also for my timing. Born in ’39, I became of the age of awareness with three Great Truths: We are at war, we get to sing when we go to church, and we get to go fishing when we visit my granddaddy. Every awareness of of my life has been laminated onto those basics. Thanks for sharing, Emily, and thanks for guiding me here.

  2. Emily, beautifully captured and expressed. I get so upset seeing everyone going to parties instead of remembering and offering respect.

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