May 7, 2009

Thanks for Memories

It’s 1866.  The Civil War is a throbbing, open wound in our American mind. Our battle-scarred grandfathers, having stumbled back home, are hard at work rebuilding their lives.  It’s a more daunting duty than surviving our country’s bloodiest conflict.

Something is stirring besides chocolate sodas at Henry Welle’s drugstore in Waterloo, New York.  Henry dips into his creative fountain and scoops up an idea that captures the flavor of the day.  “Let’s close all the shops in town for just one hour to salute those soldiers who’d lost their lives in the War, the ones now gracing our Waterloo cemetery.”  It’s Decoration Day.  

In 1882 it becomes Memorial Day, a patriotic pause to recall the brave souls who made the ultimate sacrifice to heal and protect our land.  Yet today this weekend seems to be more holiday than memorial.  

This year let’s ponder two questions:

What have I forgotten that I should remember?
What am I remembering that I should forget?

Someone folded these two questions into a single plea:  “Forgive them, Father.  They don’t know what they’re doing.”