Memorial Day (2016)

Memorial Day (2016)

Lord, I don’t understand war:
why nations spend so much money,
give so many men and women to the cause.
inflict so much damage on the world you gave us.

I suppose, Lord, I just can’t imagine war:
being in in a firefight, an invasion,
what it is like to kill another person,
or seeing my friend mutilated by a bomb.

And for me, it’s not about a just war
        versus an unjust war;
deciding to declare myself a pacifist,
        or taking a long vacation to Canada.

My generation still required registration,
        so I registered for the draft;
and begged you for no new war,
        until I grew too old to serve.

Lord, you know my problem: fear –
        sheer, out of my mind terror:
of a patrol through the jungle at night,
of an invasion that lands me on a beach,
of an operation in the mountains –
        that goes wrong.
I can’t imagine being in any of these situations,
        unless we were there – how could we?

Lord, this weekend our country pauses
        to recognize those who can imagine,
because they were in the jungles,
        on the beach at Normandy
        and in the desert mountains.

Many of these women and men
        never came back home;
they gave their lives in those places,
        and their families were left
        to live without them.

And many of these men and women
        came home deeply wounded, body and mind;
they are just doing their best to live,
        to recover from what no one should ever see.

Lord, for all those who never came home,
        for their families – their friends,
we give thanks for their sacrifice
        and pray a blessing on those left behind.

And Lord, for those who did come home
        wounded in body and spirit,
we give thanks for their sacrifice
        and pray your mercy on them
        and all those who love them.

Lord, I do remember what you taught us,
        and promise to pray for our enemies soon.
But for today, this is all we can do,
        with one special request left:
please Lord, bless the children –
those who don’t understand
                what happened to mom or dad, and
        those, please Lord, those who do.

In the name of the one
who loved us to the end,


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