Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day Gratitudes

This morning, I'm thinking about sacrifice, as Memorial Day prompts us to do.  I'm thinking about what we might feel is worth the sacrificing of our own lives.  Would anyone die for their country these days?  Clearly Ukrainians do--and it makes sense, because Putin is untrustworthy.  You could sign a treaty and find yourself needing to fight again sooner rather than later.

This Memorial Day comes after weeks of fighting over a debt ceiling and getting insight into the unethical behavior of Supreme Court justices, which leads me to see all branches of government as deeply dysfunctional.  The upcoming presidential race fills me with dread and leaves me wondering how it all came to this.

And yet, I also have hope for the future.  The U.S. has so much wealth and so much potential and some of the ideals the nation has embraced are still valid and needed.

I spent part of last week with my parents who are living in a CCRC open only to people with military or public sector experience.  It's interesting to listen to conversations, to see retired people talk about who they served with in Vietnam, to think about how long ago that war was.  It's interesting to think about people who are younger than 30--do they know veterans?  When they think about Memorial Day, what comes up for them?

This morning, I am grateful for all who have made any kind of sacrifice to get us to a better world to inhabit.  There is still much work to be done.  There are still looming threats.  But it's a good day for gratitude, for people who have been willing to do what must be done, for those who have done their part in preserving freedoms that we currently enjoy, and for those who thought they were honoring their country, even when their sacrifice seems futile or worse (idiotic or delusional) to future generations.

Here's a prayer I wrote for Memorial Day: 

God of comfort, on this Memorial Day, we remember those souls whom we have lost to war. We pray for those who mourn. We pray for military members who have died and been forgotten. We pray for all those sites where human blood has soaked the soil. God of Peace, on this Memorial Day, please renew in us the determination to be peacemakers. On this Memorial Day, we offer a prayer of hope that military people across the world will find themselves with no warmaking jobs to do. We offer our pleading prayers that you would plant in our leaders the seeds that will sprout into saplings of peace.

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