This is Memorial Day: a tradition that began in 1868, when General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic designated “the 30th of May…for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” (the Civil War). The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
History records the dates of battles and victories and defeats. But this day we do not celebrate the events of war…and its victories. Today…and beyond… we commemorate – we join together to cherish memories and honor lives lived and given.
Veteran or not, the one you serve has experienced life’s battles – some victories and, like all of us, some defeats. Honor them with loving, attentive listening. Learn from them. Cherish memories and reflections. “Tell me more about that…” is a precious gift we all can give. Look through old photos together. Let them trigger memories. Being dependant on another takes a toll of one’s feeling of self-worth. Really listening, even when you’ve heard the stories before, is a living memorial.
Prayer – LORD, help me to be a patient, attentive listener. Help me to be open to learning from the one I care for. Amen