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Reflection – Memorial Day 2018

May 28, 2018

The Cambridge American Cemetery in England is indeed hallowed ground. During my two tours as a USAF Chaplain in the United Kingdom (1994-1997 & 2005-2008) I spent a fair amount of time visiting the Cemetery and either attending or officiating at the Memorial Day observances there.

This picture from a recent visit to the Fort Snelling National Cemetery is another reminder of the various places that are Hallowed Ground.

I thought a lot about these places and many others (Arlington and Gettysburg in addition to other National Cemeteries where I have officiated at Graveside services as a Chaplain) as we drove from Estes Park, CO to Austin, MN to visit my Dad.

Before leaving Estes Park, I led worship at our 10 AM service at Presbyterian Community Church of the Rockies. As I prayed I was moved profoundly when I heard in my heart the voices rising from the graves so to speak. This reflection has come as a result of meditation and contemplation during the 870 mile drive.

Memorial Day

It isn’t about Barbecues

It isn’t about a day off from work

We pause to remember

We pause to reflect

We pause to grieve

So many lives cut short by war

So many military and civilian deaths

Deaths on all sides of the conflicts

The American Civil War… so many died… all American citizens

World War 1… nearly an entire generation lost

A war to end all wars…

World War 2… yet again so many killed

The attempted eradication of an entire race

Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria…

So many other places around the world…

Thinking of those whom I have laid to rest

Thinking of the walking wounded amongst us today

Thinking of cultures nearly eradicated

Thinking of all this, I pray…

Their voice came to me from beyond the grave…

A groan arose in the depths of my being

The only words that could be said

No more! No more!

My voice wasn’t my own in that moment

They spoke through this broken Padre

No more! No more!

There are no winners in war

Only war itself

Only the military-industrial complex

The rich get richer

The rest of us in and out of uniform pay a heavy price

Their voices cry out again and again

No more! No more!

Lord, hear the cry of your children

Lord, change the hearts of politicians and haters

Lord, in your mercy, hear this prayer

A prayer from the dead and from the living

No more! No more!

Dona Nobis Pacem et in Terra

Grant Us Peace on Earth

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