Memorial Day


A navy chaplain helps out at our parish quite a bit and last Friday at the noon mass he asked the students (5th & 6th graders) to sit for a few moments before he gave the final blessing. He said, I know you're not sorry to have a day off on Monday, and I hope you enjoy the weekend, but I also hope you'll remember that you sit untroubled at mass and in peace at a Catholic school because millions of members of the Armed Forces have been willing to fight for your freedom, and many thousands are fighting for you now in the War on Terror. You do not fear being kidnapped, being sold into slavery, being killed for your faith. These aren't stories, horrors from the past, but things that happen to Christians routinely in South America, in the Middle East, in Africa. But not to you. So I hope you are grateful, and I hope on Monday you will do three things:

  • Pray for the souls of those who gave their lives in service of our country and its freedom.
  • Pray for those in harm's way right now.
  • Remember that each of us is called to serve. Not everyone is called to the military, but you should think --right now-- what can I do to make my family, my school, my community, the world, a better place?

I could wish the grown-ups would hear a homily like that too. Of course we must pray for peace and of course there are always injustices to be corrected, but I get a bit tired of the patriotic occasion homily --where the occasion is either ignored altogether, or the homily is about how far we fall short of the civilization of justice and love. Perpetually true, but must we mark all national occasions by running the country down? It's like using a birthday toast to chronicle the beloved's foibles. Patriotism, after all, is a duty of justice under the 4th commandment. What's called for is rededication to ideals, not lamentation for having not achieved them.

  • With respect to Fr.'s first recommendation: did you know we're to observe a minute of silence in honor of the fallen at 3:00 pm? It's called the National Moment of Remembrance. Fortuitously, 3:00 pm is also the "hour of mercy," so it would be a good thing to pray for the fallen in that moment.
  • Speaking of misuse of Memorial Day, Jules Crittenden finds the MSM up to no good.
  • Nevermind that, however --listen to a Gold Star dad instead. Multi-kleenex sniffle.
  • And just for grins, last week ninme noted that according to hoteliers, Americans are far, far from ugly (Most generous tippers and 2nd best behaved --with manners more refined than the Swiss!). Nice comments in her post from folks who've enjoyed meeting our sailors on shore leave, too.

We'll be grilling, natch. Plus home-made ice cream, to which I must attend. Happy Memorial Day!