Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
I “borrowed” the following write-up from a site called Calendar-12.com. It’s a great summary of Memorial Day’s origins and its significance.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States celebrated on the last Monday of May commemorating men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Initially (officially since 1868 - proclaimed by General John Logan) Memorial Day was a holiday in memory of the soldiers who died in the Civil War. The feast was supposed to be a step towards national reconciliation. The original name (Decoration Day) comes from placing flowers on the graves of the soldiers.

Memorial Day was celebrated differently in different states. Until 1890 it was celebrated in all the states of the North. After World War I the nature of the holiday changed to honor the memory of all Americans who died in any war - not only Civil.

From 1868 to 1970 the holiday was held on May 30. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved its date to last Monday of May to increase the number of three-day weekends for federal employees.

052619 memorialdayThe day is sacred, but I couldn’t help but feel a little sad at last paragraph. Somehow, getting three-day weekends seemed to eclipse the solemnness of the day itself, May 30th. Don’t mind me...

There was something, however, that struck me very happily. Did you notice the word “feast” in the second paragraph of the quote? I was really surprised to see the word used. The source of the quote isn’t a religious site and I thought how different to see the day referred to as a feast.

We people of faith like thinking that those we remember today are indeed at a great “feasting table” in heaven.

Many of us have lived long enough to recall all the various ways in which our military service women and men have been often honored and sometimes vilified.

I was a kid of four when I remember standing on my grandmother’s front lawn across the river from New Jersey and the refineries. The whole world was going nuts with sirens and horns and whistles on V-J day, Au¬gust 14/15, 1945.
 
I was 10 when Korean “police action” began. No matter what you called it, well over 30,000 American lives were lost..

I was ordained in 1968 when the Vietnam war boiled over into a nation-ripping event. Returning service people were vilified and often their family mem-bers with them. It wasn’t until 1982 that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated.

The design of a 21-year old student won a blind competition that listed by name the nearly 60,000 who died or were missing in that war. If you have not seen the Vietnam memorial, it is worth the trip. It’s gentle V shape points to the Lincoln Memorial on one end and the Washington Memorial on the other. Its black polished surface reflects the buildings and gardens around it. The names of the troops who were lost or missing emerge through the reflections. It’s like making their memories and their sacrifices present in our own time.

Then we had Afghanistan and Iraq. How many more lives given?

On Memorial Day we honor the bravery of those who died serving our country, often kids who masked their terror in the face of the unknown to come. And we should.

Yet there is a painful thorn, maybe even better, a deeply penetrating sword, that pricks the soul and con¬science that says our desire to surround our dead with nobility must never let us think that there is anything glorious about lives lost to war.

Evil must always be repelled. But how often in repelling evil have we jumped too quickly to solutions that leave us with the task of placing flags on the graves of our loved ones. Imagine. This used to be called Decoration Day because flags are put on all the headstones in our national cemeteries. That sure can qualify as a euphemism.

We pause to tell families who have given sons and daughters to war that we want to share the privilege of grieving with you.

May the idea of the “feast of heaven” console all who remember...
In Jesus,

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