Over Memorial Day weekend, Daryl and I met a military family while we were at the rental house. The wife brought up the holyday and I shored up through prayer. But it was in that blessed interaction, I realized again how unfamiliar that average American is with these holydays.
These are moments for reflective sorrow – men lost their lives, believing they ensured your freedoms, believing things men who are unwilling to get their hands dirty themselves told them, believing the blood upon their hands was outweighed by the end result of humans across the sea not doing something anymore – at least, for a little while. Perhaps long enough for their children to move out of the house.
Her heart was troubled by a local store on FB wishing everyone “A Happy Memorial Day!” She couldn’t understand how this had become a day for hot dogs and swimming pools opening and getting tipsy with your neighbors, all while everyone was laughing and celebrating. She contacted the store and told them how horrifying that message is to military families.
These holydays are not for rejoicing. They are, for many people, days for reflection and sorrow that lives were lost… lives that God loves. God doesn’t divide His love between Americans and Brits, or Australians and Kenyans. He loves each one, and murdering a Swede or a New Guinean is as much murder as an American or German. It doesn’t become not murder, not lives stolen, simply because the borders don’t surround you.
I can’t light off fireworks during Independence Day any more than this sweet wife could fathom doing it on Memorial Day. Any war or bloodshed holydays are not a time for rejoicing, but weeping and shame and gnashing of teeth.
The irony of it is, how many people joyfully celebrate state holydays such as Independence Day, in which “our people” rebelled against the governing authority of England, and claimed our own sovereignty. These same people claim that if you don’t like the government here… “if you can’t stand behind the troops” – which is far worse now than what England was doing before 1776 – then you can always leave and “stand in front of the troops.” They clamor at more domination from a government they pretend to celebrate liberated them from the likes of British rule taxing our tea.
It is a depressing irony, rich with more than most will allow themselves to fathom.