The Church has a tradition of extending a single holiday into a longer period of remembrance, and Memorial Day certainly qualifies for that treatment. While for many it’s a chance for a long weekend and the first sunburn of the summer, it’s important to get past those three days simply as vacation, and do something meaningful to remember what we owe our military dead.
- Storytelling is the most powerful tool for memory. This week, read a poem or a story that remind you of the sacrifices military men and women so willingly made. Options can include In Flander’s Field (John McCrea), Losses (Randall Jarrell), How to Tell a True War Story and The Things They Carried (Tim O’Brien) and The Upturned Face (Stephen Crane).
- Unite with the poor who are often victimized by war. Volunteer to work with refugees in your community, or make a donation to an organization like Catholic Relief Services or Caritasthat promotes peace and provides humanitarian relief in places ravaged by war.
- Pray for war to end. There is almost always a better way. Pray for peach every day; pray that our leaders might find that better way.
God of power and mercy, you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears, that we may all deserve to be called your sons and daughters.
Keep in your mercy those men and women who have died in the cause of freedom and bring them safely into your kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Just as Jesus died for our sins, these women and me we remember died for our present and our future. Let’s give them more than a barbecue and a day on the beach.