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Thoughts on Memorial Day

As we remember, we also look forward.

Burgers, brats, potato salad, baked beans, tortillas, salsa, greens, grills, family, friends, parks, beaches, a 3-day weekend, and the start of summer vacation!

This is how so many of us will enjoy our Memorial Day weekend. It is what Memorial Day was created to encourage. And that’s a good thing! As much as possible, our family will be enjoying many of these activities too.

But, that is not the primary reason Memorial Day was created. It was created to help us remember those who have died in military service to our nation. The holiday dates to shortly after the Civil War, when people on both sides of that conflict sought to remember and honor the roughly 620,000 who died. It was moved to its present date in 1968.

So, amidst the burgers and picnics, let us remember those who died to maintain our union, and end the horror of slavery. Let us remember those who died helping to re-establish freedom for several countries during the World War I. Let us remember those who died re-reestablishing freedom for those same counties again just over 20 years later, as they also fought to end mass genocide in of Jews, Rama and Romani people (aka: Gypsies), homosexuals, and the disabled during World War II. Let us remember those who died in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the recent wars in Iraq and Kuwait and Afghanistan. Let us remember those have who died fighting terrorism. Let us remember those who have died in conflicts that we supported and conflicts that we have not supported.

Perhaps we should also remember that conflict is a sad and destructive consequence of the fall. Selfishness, exploitation, pride, racism, and even a lack of patience so often lead us into deadly conflict with others created in the image of God. Perhaps we