It is true that for most us, Memorial Day is the unofficial gateway to summer and we look forward to the much needed three days off. We often have big plans for a quick get-away adventure, a picnic with family and friends or anxiously look forward to getting that boat into the water to enjoy the summer months ahead.
But, of course, we all know the real reason behind Memorial Day. So, I want to take this moment to express gratitude to those who are serving, have served and to those who have given their lives so the rest of can enjoy our lives so freely.
For those who know me well, I prefer peace and civility over war. But many sacred texts admit that there is a time for peace and a time for war. Even Lao Tzu, the author of the “Tao Te Ching” who was completely against war and violence, admits in his 31st first verse of the “Tao” that one should use arms “only as a last resort”; thereby admitting that sometimes we must protect ourselves, our love ones and our nation from harm.
Thus, on Memorial Day, let’s remember those whose lives have been taken while serving in all of the United States wars, of which more than 1 million individuals have died serving. We are eternally indebted to all of them, who put their lives on the line to insure our freedom to live, thrive and worship as we please.
There are plenty of activities to honor these soldiers and there is one I have learned about just recently. In December 2000, Congress passed a resolution known as the National Moment of Remembrance. The resolution invites American citizens to consider remembering these individuals on Memorial Day by taking a moment at 3 p.m., “to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a time of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”
So, whatever you find yourself doing on Monday, May 28 – whether it’s riding in your boat on Sebago Lake, having a picnic at Dundee Park or exploring the countryside, think about taking just a moment to be grateful to those who have served.
It will only take a second. One second, that’s it. And then we can resume the fun Memorial Day activities we love so much, doing so with freedom and perhaps, with a feeling of gratitude – and perhaps have the added awareness of not taking the ease and joy of our lives for granted.
This insight is dedicated to the memory of my Father, Lester F Noll who served in World War II and in honor of my brother, Duane B. Noll who served during the Vietnam War.