WEEKLY WORD FROM THE FOLD
Memorial Day and Collective Memory
For many of us, Memorial Day marks the start of summer, barbecues in the back yard and a change of pace as weekend trips present themselves. Memorial Day also has poignancy about it as the nation contemplates all the troops who have died while serving in the U.S. military.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day, an occasion to remember the fallen on both sides of the American Civil War. In the early part of the 20th Century its meaning was expanded to include all Americans who lost their lives in the theater of war. It became an official federal holiday in 1971.
As a person of faith, I appreciate rituals, both civic and religious. Therefore I am a keen supporter of maintaining cultural and collective memory through national and local commemorations of the dead that combine prayer, reverence and gratitude. Here are a few points to bear in mind as Memorial Day approaches:
• It is an event that educates young people about our history.
• This is a cultural event which reminds us of how being in the world may require sacrifice and embrace loss.
• It makes our heritage visible and reminds us of the importance of not entering into foreign and domestic wars out of bombast or on false account.
While I have not had the dreadful privilege of serving my country in combat, I do appreciate the opportunity to enter into retrospective contemplation by allowing the national and collective memory to become my own.
At CGS this weekend we will honor our own veterans as we give thanks to God for the freedoms that are so easily take for granted as we go about our daily round.
See you Sunday,