Monday, May 29, 2017 marks this year’s observation of Memorial Day.
Originally named “Decoration Day,” the first reported observation was 1861. The name “Memorial Day” was first used in 1882, and was declared the official name of the holiday by federal law in 1967. Memorial Day is intended as a day to recognize, remember and honor those who gave their lives in service to the United States.
More than a 3-day holiday with lots of sales and plenty of partying, on this Memorial Day, please take a moment and pause to remember the shoulders on which the celebration rests. My uncles and brothers all served in every branch of the Armed Forces, as I’m sure yours did and may well still be serving.
Perhaps you could join a Memorial Day parade, or visit a cemetery and place a wreath on the grave of someone’s husband, wife, brother, sister, son or daughter. If you’re out and see veterans or those currently serving, take a moment to look them in the eye, shake their hand and say thank you.
And consider joining in the National Moment of Remembrance. The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress, asks Americans, wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, to pause in an act of national unity for a duration of one minute. The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. At the same time, a number of organizations throughout the country also observe the Moment: all major league baseball games halt, Amtrak train whistles sound across the country; and countless participants make a vow to remember.
This Memorial Day, please remember to thank all of our very brave and selfless men and women throughout time who have fought for all of our many freedoms. To my mind, I don’t believe they fought so gallantly for us to have more wars, but to enjoy a peaceful and love-filled life, in a united country where the pursuit of a good life supported by peace, equality and freedoms are extended to all of our many citizens.
But maybe we can do even more. Perhaps, as UB Ministers, we can all hold that lofty aspiration close to our very connected hearts on this special holiday of MEMORIAL DAY? Remember, “Where one or more are gathered in MY name…….”
Blessings to us all,
Rev. Rosemary Cathcart