Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Reflection

Memorial Day Reflection
by Rev. Durrell Watkins

Memorial Day is observed in the United States on the last Monday of May. It commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I to include casualties of any war or armed conflict.

I find myself thinking today about the many people who have fallen in one kind of war or another. I think of the Native inhabitants of this land who died in the evolution of what would become the United States.

I think of people who were enslaved to help build fortunes of people in this country; of course, many of those people died in slavery and died resisting the evils of slavery.

I think of women who had to fight for the right to vote, many of whom died before the battle was won.

I think of heroes who put their lives on the line, and sometimes lost their lives, to promote the cause of civil rights in our country.

I think of the many beautiful people who fought on the viral battlefield of AIDS and who lost their courageous struggle.

I think of those who continue to fight against heterosexism and homophobia, risking life and limb so that there will one day truly be "liberty and justice for all."

And, of course, I think of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen and women who have given all that was possible to secure the interests of their country. I especially want to honor those LBGT people who had to serve in silence. I think not only of the American lives that have been lost, but also of the lives of "enemy" combatants. Every person who fell in battle was a child of God, and God was surely the first to cry for each one slain.

In the history of the U.S., there have been many wars, and fighting continues on several fronts. This Memorial Day, I honor the lives of those who have died in any war, and I also use this occasion to pray for peace and for justice in all the world. I remember the heroes, and I wish for a day when we will "beat our swords into ploughshares" and peace will prevail on earth. Amen.

--Rev. Durrell Watkins, M.A., M.Div.