Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Reflection

My Memorial Day reflection begins in December, 2000.

On a Friday afternoon, I had received a piece of great news. I was so excited, and went home to call my Dad on the other side of the country to let him know. He wasn't home, so I left him a voicemail, asking him to call me back.

He didn't call all weekend. The phone finally rang on Monday...and it was my Aunt. "Your Dad is gone." I couldn't believe it. How could that be? It wasn't news I had expected to receive; but he was gone. Just like that.

I stumbled around in a fog, booking a plane trip back east, arranging pet care, trying to focus on putting one foot in front of the other. And I'll never forget a trip to the store that day. I stepped to the counter with my items, and set them down. I don't remember what I was purchasing, perhaps pet food. I don't have any idea what my expression was, or whether I had those puffy eyes you get from crying. But what I do remember: the cheery clerk.

She gave me a winning smile, and in her perky voice, she asked, "Did you find everything okay?"

I stood there in shock. I didn't know what to say.

I had an urge to reach out and grab her by the shoulders. I wanted to say, "Don't you know? Don't you see the world just stopped? How can you be smiling?" 

This Memorial Day, so many families are asking that same question. "Don't you know? My loved one is gone. Forever. Don't you know the world just ended?"

For some Americans, Memorial Day is just a day off work. A day of picnics, parades, and barbecues. An extra day to catch up on yard work, take advantage of a car sale or buy that new sofa at a discount. Those aren't bad things, and I'm not trying to make you feel bad for spending this day with your loved ones and enjoying their company. But I do ask that you think about the reason for this day....the reason that so many have seemingly forgotten.

Memorial Day is a day to remember the fallen. For so many Americans right now, it's filled with fresh grief; more than 6500* heroes have been lost in the war on terror. Thousands of mothers missing their sons, fathers thinking of daughters they'll never walk down an aisle, children who don't understand why daddies never came home as promised. Families whose grief, this and every Memorial Day, is still unspeakable.

Take a moment today to remember these families. If you know someone who's lost a family member, especially in the current conflicts, call them. Send an email to let them know you care. Reach out, even if it's awkward; it can be hard to know what to say, but understand that you're not reminding them of something they don't know. Just let them know you're thinking of them. That their hero's sacrifice is remembered.

For those reading this who have lost a loved one in war. . . please accept my condolences. 
Know that the world has been rocked, not only by the loss of your hero, 
but impacted forever by the life of your hero. 
Our nation is what she is because of people like your dear one, 
and we owe you a debt of gratitude that is impossible to repay.

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13


1 comment:

Rufus said...

You haven't left to much to say. Except Thank You. Thank you to all members of the Armed Services, past and present. Thank You to the families of our Heroes. We know that you also serve. We remember, honor and appreciate your sacrifices. The missed birthdays, first steps, first tooth. The missed day to day joys and challenges.

Some have made the ultimate sacrifice. We mourn their loss and your pain. We owe you a debt that can never be repaid. All we can pledge is that they did not die in vain, they will not be forgotten.

We are the land of the Free because of you, the Brave. From one American to another THANK YOU.