Thursday, May 21, 2009
May Brings Time to Remember Those Who Have Kept Us One Free Nation Under God
By Sr. Guadalupe Medina
Hi! Here we are almost at the end of the fifth month of the year 2009, and what a month it is.
We start out the month of May honoring Mary the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, queen of heaven and earth, by crowning her statue at a special Mass with a crown of flowers, praying the rosary, and honoring her throughout the month. Remember those days?
Then there is May Day -- those celebrations in school when we elected a May Day Queen, and practiced doing the dance around the Maypole, and made baskets of flowers to distribute to our neighbors. Ah yes, what memories!
But, there is more, there is Mothers day. Oh, how can we not stop and honor the woman who gave us birth. We are bombarded with advertisements from a variety of angles. From the florist reminding us to send flowers, to department stores telling us all the things our mother would love. Have you ever wondered just what exactly mothers really want? Is it the jewelry, the dresses, the flowers, or could it be what they want is simply to be told they are loved, treasured, valued, and respected?
Ah, and as the month comes to a close we are provided with a day not only to celebrate, but to stop and reflect on the lives of all men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. Yes, “Memorial Day.” A day established back in 1868, to honor the Union and Confederate soldiers who died during our Civil War. But thanks to our Congress in 1971 they passed a law which now ensures us all of a three day weekend. Yippee!!
However, there is a song by Joyce Johnson Rouse called “Standing on the Shoulders” which to me speaks about the importance of remembering that what we have today is due to those who have gone before us. Here is a bit of this song’s lyrics.
“I am standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before me, I am stronger for their courage…I am grateful for their vision...I am honored by their passion for our liberty…I imagine our world if they hadn’t tried.”
These phrases, though not written about our fallen men and women, speak to me of the fact that if these soldiers had not responded to the call, where would we be as a nation? Would we be free? Free to enjoy all the freedom that unfortunately gets taken for granted. I believe this Memorial Day is a good time to stop, go visit a cemetery, say a little prayer of thanks to all those men and women who today lie there, because they believed in the importance of maintaining our freedom. We need not wait until November 11th when we honor our Veterans both alive and deceased. Take time this Memorial Day and as a family go visit a cemetery, say a prayer of thanks, then celebrate the gift they gave us: “freedom.”
May we never forget the reason for Memorial Day or the upcoming Veterans Day in November.
Photos from Gettysburg National Military Park.