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Memorial Day, 2014

It’s Me!



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“A strange thing is memory, and hope; one looks backward, and the other forward; one is of today, the other of tomorrow. Memory is history recorded in our brain, memory is a painter, it paints pictures of the past and of the day.”~Grandma Moses

Every Memorial Day, I always think about our nation celebrating the lives of the soldiers that have come and gone and survived great physical and psychological injury while fighting the “good fight.”

Although war is the one conflict that always feels unjust, unneccessary , and terribly burdensome, there are men and women for whom war has determined the difference between winning internal wars of conviction and committment, or living unbearable external lives without cause or righteous indignation.

We celebrate all of them today.

Memorial Day, an American holiday federally established in 1971, has been observed in this country since the Civil War (1861-1865)–America’s most shameful, deadly war fought in the preservation of states’ rights to preserve the institution of slavery.  Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is the one time of the year in which all of our slain soldiers rest in their graves and in our memory forever more in the same unit, representing the same service, and drafted by the same Creator.

Our injured soldiers have the constant reminders of the ugliness of war on the canvas of their bodies and ensconced in their minds.

Both instances paint pictures of what we know and understand about war, but more importantly, they sculpt what we know about the human will.

Having lost so many soldiers during the Civil War, some nearly 700,000 of them, America had to create a national cemetery to honor such grave and immeasurable loss. In Virgina’s Arlington National Cemetery or the Hampton National Cemetery neighboring the Historically Black campus of Hampton University, in New York’s Woodlawn cemetery or California’s Los Angeles National Cemetery, our soldiers are honored with miniature flags, grave visits and hollowed resting places where others come to reflect on the lives and service of these soldiers.

As we look back at the memory of our soldiers, we have to look forward in the hope of no longer needing soldiers to quell conflicts that cannot be resolved without the loss of blood and lives, but in leading us in issues that require men and women of immense courage, strength, and will.

Abraham Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address on November 19th, 1863 said,

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Happy Memorial Day!

Check out the short movie Memorial Day 2014: Black Soldiers, Memory and Hope, below.

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