On this Memorial Day as we watch parades and the laying of wreaths and greet summer with barbecues and gatherings, it is worth looking beneath the usual to why we need a day of remembrance of those who gave their lives.
Those who have fallen in war are casualties not only of the arms of a foe, but also of the failure of humanity to build peace. Those who hold arms take on not only the burden of risking their lives but are also made to bear the ongoing suffering caused whenever nations turn to the sword instead of the plowshare. In the United States we take for granted the peace we enjoy and the freedom we have and fail to recognize the force of arms that we stand behind. The work of striving to end divisions is as urgent a duty for all those who enjoy peace as is the presentation of arms for those who in this age must yet study war. And we must understand that each time a young man or woman dies in armed strife, it must be a sobering reminder that we have to work harder to heal divisions and offer our labor and our genius to calming the tensions amongst us. It must remind us that we must build a world that shall never require of any human being that they sacrifice their life to our divisions.
Adapted from Bernard Varnum
On this Memorial Day
Grant peace to the souls
Of all those soldiers who died in war.
We remember the tears and grief of their families,
The pain of mother, wives, husbands and children
Who lost precious loved ones
To build a meaningful memorial to them,
We ask God to give us all the will
To work for peace around the world
So no more sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, nor mothers
Are slaughtered by the guns and bombs of war.
Education for Justice
This day remember all those who have lost their lives in war. Hold them and those they left behind in gratitude and continue to grieve their dying. Continue your efforts to live nonviolently and to promote and support nonviolent solutions to differences. Do not buy products or support entertainment that foster guns, war or violence. Teach children to solve problems rather than fight when they have differences.
Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”
Even today we raise our hand against our brother… We have perfected our weapons, our conscience has fallen asleep, and we have sharpened our ideas to justify ourselves as if it were normal we continue to sow destruction, pain, death. Violence and war lead only to death.
My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.
I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.
John F. Kennedy
Today is Memorial Day, when we recall all those who gave everything in the darkness of war so we could stand here in the glory of spring.
According to tradition this is a day to remember those who have fallen in US wars. The stated goals of these wars were peace, democracy, freedom and justice. But what has really happened? In spite of all the wars that have taken thousands of our soldiers and millions of innocents, especially children, the world is still at war and people everywhere suffer unjust political systems where there is no freedom. Why has all this blood been spilled? To show us that war is not the way to the noble ideals for which many have died. On this day i invite you to reflect on how to honor these lost souls by working through non-violence for real peace and justice.
Fernando Suarez del Solar
This is the day we pay homage to all those who didn’t come home. This is not Veterans Day, it’s not a celebration, it is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of freedom.
It is when we finally realize the futility of violence and the invalidity of war will we, the people of this world finally wake up!
In this hope, among the things we teach to the young are such truths as the transcendent value of the individual and the dignity of all people, the futility and stupidity of war, its destructiveness of life and its degradation of human values.
Dwight D. Eisenhower