America is in such turmoil these days. We fight about everything. We demean each other, we shout in protest, we sue each other, we shoot each other; we have become so hateful.
On this Memorial day weekend, when I think of all the soldiers and airman who have died fighting for our freedom and peace, I have to admit, I feel a bit ashamed. My father and mother served in the Navy during WWII. My father-in-law and husband are retired Air Force. Here’s a picture of the husband of a friend, coming home to his young girls after a long deployment.
Serving in the military comes with a price. It is not easy. It is not free. It is sacrificial, sometimes taking the ultimate toll. Spouses lose mates; children lose parents. We lose siblings and cousins and friends. This weekend, we remember those we’ve lost, even those we never knew, soldiers from the Civil war, the Revolutionary war. America has been fought for repeatedly.
I wonder what those who died fighting would say about America today. Would they believe it was worth it? Would they still fight today?
I pray they would. Because as unkind and unjust as Americans can be, it’s still our choice to create the life we want. We can choose to be cruel, and sometimes we do. But, we can also choose to be kind, and we’ve done that too. (No other country is more generous than America). Hard-one freedom sustains that choice for us.
So, it’s imperative that we remember those who have died trying to preserve our freedom to be kind – or cruel. My parents and husband understood that those in generations to come might take for granted the freedoms of this country. And they were right.
We don’t usually link the most significant choice we have – to love, or hate – to the long-ago or recent death of a soldier.
But, we should.
We can best honor all those who have died in service to America by simply choosing to be kind.