Instead of posting about eating disorder recovery or mindfulness, today I’d like to share with you my thoughts on Memorial Day.
In elementary school, Memorial Day meant little to me except a day off from school and a picnic with my parents. In junior high and high school, Memorial Day meant putting on my band uniform and marching with my piccolo down the streets of Boyertown, PA for the annual parade. I recall the memorial tributes read at the ceremony afterwards and thought little more than “I can’t wait to get out of this stinking hot uniform!” In fact, it wasn’t until two years ago that the real significance of Memorial Day hit me.
It was May 26, 2014, four months into my work as co-author with David J. McCallum on his forthcoming memoir entitled, Visions of Vietnam: An Army Medic’s View of the War. Dave had invited me to join him as he visited several local cemeteries and Vietnam memorials, places at which his friends and fellow soldiers are buried or remembered. As we traveled from Wilmington to Marcus Hook to Springfield to Philadelphia to Bensalem, stopping in each place to remember the fallen, I felt increasingly weighed down by the terrible cost of war and incredibly moved by Dave’s devotion to these soldiers. It was clear that he took seriously the charge written on the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial: “It is our duty to remember”.
The very next day I made a promise to Dave: “I will visit these graves and memorials every year for as long as I am able.” It seemed an insignificant sacrifice to make when I considered the service and sacrifice of the men and women of our country.
So, this Memorial Day, I will fulfill my promise. I hope you will do more than just enjoy a cold beer or sit on the beach or benefit from a 50% off sale. I hope you’ll spend some moments in prayer or thoughtful remembrance of all those who died in service of our country and those, like Dave, who live with the memory of those who were lost.
Peace and blessings,