Memorial Day has, like so many other events, lost its meaning and purpose. It has become a long weekend off ... a day of picnics or cookouts ... the beginning of summer. At Mass this morning, we had the usual group - no additional People of God who have come to pray for those who sacrificed their lives, or those who have served well and have since died, or even those presently serving. There will be many lining the parade route this morning in our local community, to see the band and the firetrucks, and to remember and celebrate with our veterans at the Memorial Service at the local cemetery. But the primary purpose of the day takes second place to the desire for a day off.
The truly sad part of all of this is that when we fail to remember, to keep deep in our hearts, the sacrifices that have been made by those who served in the military and elsewhere, then we fail to take to heart the seriousness of committing ourselves to the greatness of this nation and to resolving to hold fast to the vision and ideals of our founding fathers in their experiment of this Grand Republic. We cannot afford to take this charge of freedom and justice for all people lightly. We must highly resolve that those who gave their lives and service to this nation will not have done so in vain. And that God be acknowledged as being "the" source of blessing for this nation. It was wonderful to see and hear thousands last evening at the Memorial Day Concert in Washington stand and sing "God Bless America" from the bottom of their hearts. May they and may we, as a nation and as individuals, keep God close to the heart of the nation ... and may we always REMEMBER and GIVE THANKS!