Today is Memorial Day in The United States of America—a day for formally remembering the men and women who died while serving in our armed forces. This special day of remembrance began after The America Civil War to honor the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that armed conflict. There were over 625,000 (almost 2% of the population) casualties, and the sheer enormity of memorializing and burying took on a huge significance.
A “memorial” is a monument or commemorative holiday, designed to remember a person (or an event), and “In memoriam” is Latin for “in memory of”. Many of us have ways we remember someone who has died. We may set aside time to reflect on the impact he or she had on our life. We may journal, pray or throw a party. We may find ourselves sad or even depressed, especially if the pain of the loss is profound or very fresh. We may question why that person was “taken from us” or wonder how we can possibly live out our remaining days without that loved one’s presence.
Lord Alfred Tennyson, wrote: “In Memoriam” (a work composed of 131 smaller poems), in 1850. He was wrestling with the reason for his life but trusted that man was not made simply to die. Tennyson suffered greatly with the death of his closest friend but believed that his friend still existed in a higher form.
I hold a belief system similar to Tennyson’s. I’ve often said that I’m curious about what it’s going to be like on the spirit side. I’m not in a hurry to get back there, but, it will be interesting to be able to understand why I’ve done (or not done) some things, in this life. I believe that our spirits live on. I believe that everything we say or don’t say, and do or don’t do, changes our realities. I’ve watched, and felt, the pain that just a few unkind or angry words can create. I’ve also seen: the power of a loving hand reaching out, the joy of the gift of time given, and a heart that’s been mended by a word of love.
The last stanza of “In Memoriam” is,
That God, which ever lives and loves,
One God, one law, one element,
And one far-off divine event,
To which the whole creation moves.
Let’s take the time to remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the freedom we often take for granted. Let’s take the time to pause for a moment of silence and remember loved ones who have moved to the other side. Let’s honor those who have come before us and impacted our lives in a positive way.
Finally, think about your walk through this life. How many others has your spirit had the amazing gift to touch? What mark will you leave on our world? How will you be remembered? When you leave this life, what will your epitaph say?
My hope is for you to experience love by being your best self, in your family, home, community, and in our world, so that one day, generations that follow you, may enjoy not only a Peace Full Home but a Peace Full World.
Happy Memorial Day,