Memorial Day is a day of mixed feelings.
We have the opportunity to honor and appreciate brave men and women who sacrificed their lives... but for the wrong reasons.
We have the opportunity to place flowers upon graves... yet we continue to perpetuate the decisions that lead to more graves like these.
We have the opportunity to mourn, to grieve, to remember, to lament the dead of our country and abroad... instead, we venerate the war machine; the planes, the guns the weapons we raise against others and bring on our own demise.
What saddens me most about Memorial Day is the sense that we will be "honoring" and "celebrating" our fallen heroes at the same time next year, only more will have died to serve our own national self-interest instead of truly building a more beautiful world. If Memorial Day should tell us anything, it is "Never again."
The settling of the colonies involved the massacre of the original inhabitants of these lands and the building of agricultural systems on the backs of slaves. Never again.
The Revolutionary War tells us resistance and revolt are costly and that those who overthrow empires often become what they fought against. Never again.
The Civil War turned brother against brother and created factions that exist to this day. Never again.
The 20th Century saw more bloodshed and death, more wars and a greater capacity for our own self-destruction than ever before. We, the United States of America instated and overthrew leaders, dealt weapons and dropped bombs. We should rightly mourn our dead, and grieve the Powers and systems that continue to draw us into these cycles of conflict. We rightly remember our loved ones who have fallen, tell their stories and acknowledge their bravery. Let us also hear the cry echoing through time, "Never again!"
This day is an opportunity. It can be an opportunity to consider the Jesus way of life, on violence, and on creating beauty in the world around us. We have the opportunity to slow down, to plant roots, to create a web of humanity that spans neighborhoods and nations. We can create a new future and bring it into the present. We can be peacemakers in small ways and live devoted to the well-being of our one human family. We can find a third way in the conflicts that exist right in our midst and abroad. We can hear and respond to the call to never again.