How does a single Mom say thank you on Memorial Day?
How, when I look around at the rest of the world, do I look another Mother, Wife, Child in the eye and say,
thank you for giving us your Loved one?
I don’t know what life for a single mom would be like in much of the world, but I’ve listened enough to make some guesses.
And to say it is heartbreaking and terror-evoking would be an understatement.
Today, I attended our small town’s Memorial Day parade and the ceremony at the cemetery afterwards.
The reading of the names of those Killed in Action always gets to me.
In big cities, it would be impossible to read the names of all who have died in conflict since America’s founding, but in our small town of fewer than 3,000, we have the privilege of listening to and praying for residents who have died since the Revolutionary War.
In the Civil War alone 21 names were read.
21 names still shared by many of my friends today.
21 names that are not just names, but men, real flesh and blood,
Men who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
Men who laughed and loved
Men who got angry and were compassionate
Men who did stupid things and wonderful things and sad things and funny things.
Imperfect men but men who gave the ultimate sacrifice – for our future.
21 men, 19 families, one family with three names, changed forever by war, a town still recalling those names.
I look at our town which has grown incredibly from Civil War days, and I cannot imagine the impact of losing 21 of our young men. They’d have been men I’d taught, men I’d joked with, men I’d admired.
Today we are thankful to have not lost anyone in our town, but I have attended services for others killed in the Middle East, and though I knew them not, my heart cried out for them and for their families, lives taken so young, so fit, so strong, so violently.
How do you say thank you for that?
There are no words.
There are no words to say what is in my heart, but we can live every day in thanksgiving for their sacrifice.
We can take every day and count it as a Blessing.
We can take our grumblings and moanings (I do plenty of that!) and instead remember that there are plenty of women in the world who would gladly take our place.
We can look a man or woman in uniform in the eye and say thank you – and mean it in our souls.
We can live each and every day honoring those who have given us opportunities others don’t dare to dream of.
We can constantly strive to better ourselves and others, by being better and doing MORE, by forgiving and moving on, by educating ourselves and teaching others, by Loving and Living every moment we have on this earth as God intended us to.
We can pray for those who have passed and for those left behind knowing that, while we cannot know their pain, the Father who gave the only Perfect Son understands fully.
While life can be hard, we have been given so much here. The Bible tells us, “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matt 19:24)
We, in America, have been given so much. Let us not forget in looking at the wealth of others here, how blessed we truly are. Let us not forget the sacrifice of the men and women who put their lives on the line to allow us to practice our faith and to strive for a better tomorrow.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord,
And let perpetual Light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.
May their souls
And all the souls of the faithfully departed,
Rest in Peace.