29 May 2017

A Blessed Day of Memory to You and Yours

Menin Gate at Midnight - Will Longstaff - Public Domain via Wikicommons
Here in the United States, today is the day we set aside--in theory, anyway--to memorialize, to remember those who have given their lives during battle.  Many people, perhaps even most people, regard it as the "unofficial start of summer," but they are mistaken.  

All things have a season, Solomon is thought to have written (Ecclesiastes 3), and today is a time to commemorate, not a time to celebrate.  Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day because people would go to cemeteries and decorate the graves of those who had given their lives in battle or due to wounds received in battle.  

Surely, my fellow Americans live within a few miles (or less) of a cemetery where a fallen military member lies.  Perhaps he or she has no one to remember.  You could take a few minutes to decorate the grave with a small flag or with a few flowers from your garden. You could take a few minutes to pray for the person's soul (2 Timothy 1:16-18, 2 Maccabees 12:38-46) or for his or her loved ones who remain.  If it is too late for you to visit today, tomorrow will be even better, for May 30 is the traditional Memorial Day.

Some poetic inspiration ensues to help to explain the painting; my own explanation would not do it justice.

Agape always,

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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