24 May, 2008


I never know what to write for Memorial Day.

I think perhaps it's so big that I can't quite wrap my arms around it--I am blessed in that I don't have a personal connection to someone who is honored on this day. I have no face that hovers in my mind's eye on days like this, no ghosts that walk alongside me each day.

So I sit quietly and watch... awed by the stories... noticing the change in faces as pictures flash behind speaking eyes... observing that no matter how much the focus is on "celebration of the life lived," a bitter ribbon flows among the love and pride and fiercely-held memories.

And so they are here and their brothers are not. But they almost are... in names whispered or shouted, in stories of laughter and tears and astonishing heroism, in survivors enveloped in brotherly love, in bonds so fierce that even death cannot sever them completely.

For what is remembered never really ceases to exist.

But we must do more than remember.

A somber occasion then, this Memorial Day, but also a sadly joyous one. For if we must regret the bitterness and pain of sacrifice, we must celebrate the fact that there are those who love us enough, and trust us enough, and what we stand for, that they would lay down their lives for us. We must earn this.

We must earn this by remembering them and honoring their sacrifice.

We must earn this by keeping faith with their brothers and sisters who return from the fight, the broken and the whole.

We must earn this by keeping in our hearts their loved ones, for whom no Memorial Day celebration will ever be required to invoke their memories or sufficient to fill the holes left in their lives.

We must earn this by continuing to build that more perfect union, so that it may more nearly represent the ideals of truth and freedom and justice for which they gave their lives.

We must earn this: