Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day! (Part 2)

After I published my Memorial Day greeting last night, I really thought about Memorial  Day - as I do every year. It occurred to me that there's nothing "happy" about it. To most of us, and I think rightly, it symbolizes loss - the ultimate sacrifice of life so that others may enjoy freedom.

I think about courage, sacrifice, suffering, loneliness, fear, and the many other emotions that the men and women who serve in our military - and their families and friends - experience. That makes me sad, not happy.

Do you think we will ever live on an Earth without war?

Photo courtesy of the United States Air Force


Anonymous said...

I hope that someday we can all live in peace.

Eileen said...

Yes, Happy Memorial Day does seem like an oxymoron at first, but it actually makes sense. After we mourn our losses, after we grieve our dead, it is time to raise our heads and embrace our redemption by saying thank you to all those whose sacrifices purchased our freedom. We, the living, are the beneficiaries of their selfless actions and that should engender feelings of deep joy and gratitude within our hearts. So, yes, I can wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day without feeling disrespectful or ignorant of the occasion's solemn core. Although it is certainly a day for some quiet reflection on the price of our freedom, I prefer to remember my father (killed in WWII) and all those fallen soldiers with joy and gratitude rather than dust and ashes.

Will we ever be a world at peace? I sincerely doubt it. Families, neighbors, communities, cities, states, countries all have their squabbles and fights over differences in values, beliefs, goals, ideals; over land, belongings, politics, and religion. Sometimes the "saber rattling" is just so much noise, but at other times it erupts into full-blown violence: "Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war."

It takes an extremely strong and secure people to accept and respect differences without feeling threatened. I don't think we're anywhere near that level of brotherhood and tolerance at this point in time--although I am not without constant hope.

Mandy said...

I have to admit, living my entire life in Canada, I've never once actually taken the time to google what Memorial Day celebrated (or mourned) - until yesterday. I've always just associated it with shopping sales and nothing more. Makes me feel pretty ignorant.

Both my parents and grandparents have been deeply been affected by the wars and rebellions that have occurred over the decades. We're always very thankful, come Remembrance Day. I respect those who fight for the common folk, my family, and the rights of those who don't have any. So, thank you, to anyone who has ever taken a stand.

Now I know the significance of Memorial Day. :)

Eileen said...

Hi Mandy,

One of the beautiful things about Memorial Day is that it brings our nation together in collective reflection and acknowledgement that freedom is never free. Although several towns claim to be the first to celebrate "Decoration Day", it's interesting to note that it sprang up spontaneously in many towns that had been affected by the Civil War. And, because many of the fallen soldiers of that era were never identified in their final resting place, they became adopted by the entire town that honored them as their own--no matter that they were Confederate or Union. Death, the great equalizer, made the color of their uniform irrelevant. Their conviction, bravery in the face of barbaric conditions, and untimate sacrifice was honored. We lost over 700,000 souls in that conflict and yet, in memorializing their deaths, they brought us together to heal as a nation.

Claire said...

Sadly, I think war will still happen during my lifetime, although I do believe we as a human race is shifting in consciousness. This may sound like a new-agey stuff, but I see more and more of us are living life more mindfully and not just immersed in the thought pattern in our head. I first came across this concept after reading a book by Eckhart Tolle "The Power of Now" and I also followed his series on Oprah several years ago (I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say this, I'm not endorsing this one way or the other, just sharing where I got the info from).

I certainly see evidence around me that people are living more mindfully, and perhaps this shift in consciousness will bring about a global change of all of us as human race. Imagine of the leaders of our societies are all mindfully do their job, there may be solutions to global problem other than wars.

Someday, maybe not in my lifetime but someday.

Meredith said...

My neighbor gave me the book, "The Power of Now" when I was going through treatment for cancer and I can honestly say, that book became a bible to me. It got me through each day of surgeries etc etc etc. My father was one of the 101rst Airborne that was surrounded by Germans in the Battle of the Bulge. He still has the two bullets in his abdomen that he was hit with at 24 years old. Couldn't evacuate because they were surrounded. He survived and went on to live a very successful life, but was always effected psychologically from that and other experiences, hit with grenade schrapnel which required another hospitalization etc. We all owe so much to all the men and women who have fought for and preserved this nation. We can never repay them, but we can remember and honor them. I will be lighting a candle at dusk, as I alway do, for all of them.