A Simple Prayer for Memorial Day

Welcome back from Memorial Day, which always offers us a day of rest from work and eases us into the summer months. But over the years I have found that for many of us there’s little real connection to Memorial Day itself – I know that’s true for me. The meaning of the day somehow gets lost amid cook-outs and busyness. So, today, I offer a simple prayer for Memorial Day to remind us of the day’s importance.I was struck by a photo this morning of President Obama standing  under an umbrella during an intense thunderstorm at Andrews Air Force Base trying to give his Memorial Day remarks. Eventually he had to tell the audience to disperse for fear of lightening. You’ll recall the president was highly criticized for not attending the traditional Arlington Cemetery activities when he decided to go to the Lincoln Cemetery in Illinois. When it rains it pours. I fear that his words were lost in the storm.

But what would any of us say if we had the opportunity to offer words of remembrance on Memorial Day? What would you choose to focus on – and why? Would your words be long, or brief? Here are some that come to me on this the day after Memorial Day.

May we always remember and give thanks to the men and women who served this country 

May we never forget those who lost their lives and call out their names so they may be remembered 

May we support those whose son or daughter, brother or sister, did not come home—and always extend them our hand 

May we thank and give comfort to those who do return – and make good on our promise to provide them with the resources and love to heal their bodies and minds and souls 

May our leaders be clear-headed and humble in their decisions to send our men and women into harm’s way – and not lose themselves in their own bravado and rhetoric 

May we help those coming home from war find food, shelter, a job – so that they know there can be true hope about life beyond war 

May we live by our word to those who serve our nation and fulfill our obligations to them as they have to us 

These are thoughts that came to me this morning. I’ve not toiled over them, nor worked them over. Instead, they simply come from my heart. They are, in reality, an invitation to you to offer your own words. Like mine, they don’t have to be well crafted or carefully chosen. Just speak about what about you know and feel.

Of course, words alone are not enough on Memorial Day, or any day when it comes to those who have served our country. But without words we cannot know what we hold valuable and what we hold in common. After all, Memorial Day is about our common bonds to one another.

Please join me. Add your own words in the comments below.