Author Topic: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection  (Read 2942 times)

P.T. McCain

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Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« on: May 25, 2020, 11:16:19 AM »
Here is a very thoughtful and thought-provoking reflection on Memorial by Dr. Gene Edward Veith:
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2020/05/memory/

A snippet, but do read the rest in which Dr. Veith reflects further on the "superpower" of human memory and imagination and quotes St. Augustine on these issues. Powerful stuff!


Today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who have given their lives for our liberties.  We are grateful for those who have, in effect, died for us.  Their sacrifice, in turn, reminds us of someone else who died for us.  He himself makes the connection:  “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Some people observe Memorial Day by also remembering all of their loved ones who have died, visiting the cemetery to put flowers on their graves and bringing back memories of them.

Memory is one of the superpowers of the human mind.  Our ability to conjure up in our minds people, events, and experiences from the past, thus bringing them back into our present, is a remarkable power.

Memory is part of our imagination, the faculty we have of forming mental images.



Daniel Lee Gard

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2020, 11:19:31 AM »
A reflection on who we honor on Memorial Day.

On Memorial Day, I honor the far too many men that I personally knew who gave their lives for our nation. I remember the families of those who, when they answered the doorbell, saw me with a casualty assistance team coming to tell them that their son or husband had been killed. I especially remember the families of those murdered by terrorists on 9/11 at the Pentagon and to whom I was privileged to serve as a chaplain.

We usually think of those who died in combat and who never made it home. My family has worn the uniform in every conflict since the Revolutionary War. Only one, however, died directly as result of war: my 3rd Great Grandfather, Private John Robinson (Civil War, E Com, 2nd Reg, Michigan Infantry) in 1864.

But some veterans returned home alive but bearing the wounds of war only to die of those wounds at a later time. Such was my 2nd Great Uncle, Private Walter Whyde (WWI, 23 Co 6 Bn, 158 Dep Brig) who was discharged from General Hospital 19 as a wounded warrior. A promising and gifted young man before the war, his war wounds were both physical and psychological. Following the war, he was in and out of the courts – both criminal and domestic. I have no doubt that he suffered from PTSD, a disorder neither recognized nor treated at the time. In the end, he died in Ohio in a knife fight in 1933.

Some of our war dead died on a field of battle. Others died later, back at home but with the wounds of war still tormenting them physically, emotionally and spiritually. Too many die later as a result of their wounds. These also paid the price of their lives in defense of our country. I remember them also,
« Last Edit: May 25, 2020, 11:24:03 AM by Daniel Lee Gard »

peter_speckhard

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2020, 11:25:53 AM »
A reflection on who we honor on Memorial Day.

On Memorial Day, I honor the far too many men that I personally knew who gave their lives for our nation. I remember the families of those who, when they answered the doorbell, saw me with a casualty assistance team coming to tell them that their son or husband had been killed. I especially remember the families of those murdered by terrorists on 9/11 at the Pentagon and to whom I was privileged to serve as a chaplain.

We usually think of those who died in combat and who never made it home. My family has worn the uniform in every conflict since the Revolutionary War. Only one, however, died directly as result of war: my 3rd Great Grandfather, Private John Robinson (Civil War, E Com, 2nd Reg, Michigan Infantry) in 1864.

But some veterans returned home alive but bearing the wounds of war only to die of those wounds at a later time. Such was my 2nd Great Uncle, Private Walter Whyde (WWI, 23 Co 6 Bn, 158 Dep Brig) who was discharged from General Hospital 19 as a wounded warrior. A promising and gifted young man before the war, his war wounds were both physical and psychological. Following the war, he was in and out of the courts – both criminal and domestic. I have no doubt that he suffered from PTSD, a disorder neither recognized nor treated at the time. In the end, he died in Ohio in a knife fight in 1933.

Some of our war dead died on a field of battle. Others died later, back at home but with the wounds of war still tormenting them physically, emotionally and spiritually. Too many die later as a result of their wounds. These also paid the price of their lives in defense of our country. I remember them also,
Indeed. I did a funeral in 2002 for a man who had been a 19 year old forward scout in the Battle of the Bulge. His life after the war was so marked by ptsd that his was able to get his cause of death listed as combat related.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2020, 11:58:07 AM »
A reflection on who we honor on Memorial Day.

On Memorial Day, I honor the far too many men that I personally knew who gave their lives for our nation. I remember the families of those who, when they answered the doorbell, saw me with a casualty assistance team coming to tell them that their son or husband had been killed. I especially remember the families of those murdered by terrorists on 9/11 at the Pentagon and to whom I was privileged to serve as a chaplain.

We usually think of those who died in combat and who never made it home. My family has worn the uniform in every conflict since the Revolutionary War. Only one, however, died directly as result of war: my 3rd Great Grandfather, Private John Robinson (Civil War, E Com, 2nd Reg, Michigan Infantry) in 1864.

But some veterans returned home alive but bearing the wounds of war only to die of those wounds at a later time. Such was my 2nd Great Uncle, Private Walter Whyde (WWI, 23 Co 6 Bn, 158 Dep Brig) who was discharged from General Hospital 19 as a wounded warrior. A promising and gifted young man before the war, his war wounds were both physical and psychological. Following the war, he was in and out of the courts – both criminal and domestic. I have no doubt that he suffered from PTSD, a disorder neither recognized nor treated at the time. In the end, he died in Ohio in a knife fight in 1933.

Some of our war dead died on a field of battle. Others died later, back at home but with the wounds of war still tormenting them physically, emotionally and spiritually. Too many die later as a result of their wounds. These also paid the price of their lives in defense of our country. I remember them also,

Indeed. I'm glad you mentioned those who "died later, back at home but with the wounds of war still tormenting them physically, emotionally and spiritually." Such was my father, SSgt. George S. Engebretson (Ret.), who also undoubtedly suffered from PTSD before it became known as such. Alcoholism took much from him physically, and the torments of the soul never left him. He lived through the horror of WWII and Korea, and when he finally retired he had suffered a heart attack and had an injury to his back from a combat paratroop jump, eventually being rated with a 100% disability.  He would later die at a veteran's hospital in 1988, still bearing the deep scars of the 20+ years he gave to this country. 

Thank you for mentioning the suffering of such men.  They did not die on the battlefield, but the battlefield followed them into death.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

P.T. McCain

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2020, 12:25:38 PM »
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

— Ronald Reagan

Charles Austin

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2020, 03:01:14 PM »
And someday, probably not on memorial day weekend, we will learn that one can serve one’s country and perhaps even have to make that “ultimate sacrifice” without putting on a uniform and picking up a weapon.
Retired ELCA Pastor. And some other things.

John_Hannah

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2020, 03:06:30 PM »
And someday, probably not on memorial day weekend, we will learn that one can serve one’s country and perhaps even have to make that “ultimate sacrifice” without putting on a uniform and picking up a weapon.

Of course. Last night at the Memorial Day Concert, the MC's paid tribute to the health care providers, grocery workers, postal workers, et. al. It is only right.

Peace, JOHN (wore the uniform but didn't have a weapon  :) )
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Dan Fienen

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2020, 03:21:18 PM »
And someday, probably not on memorial day weekend, we will learn that one can serve one’s country and perhaps even have to make that “ultimate sacrifice” without putting on a uniform and picking up a weapon.

You regularly post something like this. Do you really think that the rest of us don't get this? That we are so ignorant of the varieties of service given to our nation that we fail to honor those who serve without bearing arms? That is an insulting accusation of ignorance and insensitivity. We do not need, someday, to learn this, we long ago learned this. As Chaplain Hannah pointed out, the Memorial Day observance concert recognized and honored those who are serving in many ways, including grocery stores and truck drivers during this pandemic crisis. In my own Memorial Day observances for this past Sunday, I included all of these serving and risking during this crisis, as well as the families who support for the workers often includes hardship and loss. Someday we will learn?!? We learned.


Or is it that so long as Memorial Day is observed and those who bore arms and gave the last full measure of devotion are remembered and honored that we have not sufficiently learned your lesson?
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2020, 03:22:37 PM »
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it’s not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Daniel Lee Gard

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2020, 03:23:25 PM »
And someday, probably not on memorial day weekend, we will learn that one can serve one’s country and perhaps even have to make that “ultimate sacrifice” without putting on a uniform and picking up a weapon.

Like Pastor Hannah, I wore a uniform but did not carry a weapon.

The purpose of Memorial Day is specific to remembering and honoring those that gave their lives in defense of our freedom. It does not diminish the sacrifices that others ("health care providers, grocery workers, postal workers, et. al" per Pastor Hannah) have made. They deserve to be honored as well. But Memorial Day is about those who died in war.

Of course, we have this discussion every year.

Daniel Lee Gard

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2020, 03:24:13 PM »
 In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2020, 03:26:44 PM »
And someday, probably not on memorial day weekend, we will learn that one can serve one’s country and perhaps even have to make that “ultimate sacrifice” without putting on a uniform and picking up a weapon.
I think firefighters and police get a fair amount of praise for their service. As does any particular individual who dies saving others. The first funeral I ever did was for a woman my age who drowned In successfully saving her son from drowning. Tremendous honor in that ultimate sacrifice.

The difference is in the purpose of the vocation and the oath of office. Nobody who signs up to be, say, a doctor, pledges to make that ultimate sacrifice on behalf of strangers.

It is a straw man to point out that others serve their country sacrificially. Precisely zero people have ever said otherwise.

P.T. McCain

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2020, 03:38:02 PM »
Something from a. Few years ago.

https://deadline.com/2016/12/hacksaw-ridge-veteran-son-letter-mel-gibson-1201871327/

I remember that article when you first told us about it Don. I enjoyed the chance to read it again. Thanks for the link!

Dave Benke

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2020, 03:39:23 PM »
And someday, probably not on memorial day weekend, we will learn that one can serve one’s country and perhaps even have to make that “ultimate sacrifice” without putting on a uniform and picking up a weapon.

Like Pastor Hannah, I wore a uniform but did not carry a weapon.

The purpose of Memorial Day is specific to remembering and honoring those that gave their lives in defense of our freedom. It does not diminish the sacrifices that others ("health care providers, grocery workers, postal workers, et. al" per Pastor Hannah) have made. They deserve to be honored as well. But Memorial Day is about those who died in war.

Of course, we have this discussion every year.

I agree with you completely on this, Dan. 

One of our District Presidents served as a chaplain in the 101st Airborne in a far off land.  Because he jumped with the troops, he was allowed to carry a weapon.  Upon return and I guess pretty much until he died, he invariably carried a weapon on his person.  That included the COP meetings.  I would ask, "You packing today?"  He wouldn't answer a word.  Just gave me the look of a military chaplain who had jumped with the 101st Airborne.     Rest in peace.

Dave Benke

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Re: Memorial Day 2020 Reflection
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2020, 03:45:20 PM »
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

In 1987 I lead the prayers for the Annual American Memorial Day Service in Flanders Field, Belgium. Unforgettable. As was seeing Pope John Paul II at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium (famous WW I battlefield) the year before.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS