Saturday, May 28, 2005

Memorial Day Weekend!

There are so many facets to our nation that holidays such as this one bring about thoughts of "how" we actually celebrate. For many it is an opportunity for four days away from their regular lives. For some it is an opportunity to attend the famous Indianapolis Speedway with their wives and children. Others prepare speeches and sermons for the events of remembrance the next few days. Growing up here in South Dakota I looked forward to the services in the church and cemetaries. My bugle by this day would have been shined and polished to a high luster and the tuning made as perfect as it could get for the blowing of taps. Genuine U.S. Cavalry issue from just over 125 years ago, it brought a great deal of pride to my family of military serving, prayer speaking, God honoring, elders to have me be a part of the services in our small community of 400. I guess I started doing that when I was 11 or 12, and really never gave it up. My last taps was blown on my trumpet at a service about 9 years ago. I would still serve if asked, in that capacity, or any other. I've delivered the sermons, the messages, the remembrances and simply done the introductions of distinguished members of every branch of military service(even introduced politicians during election years), but life in America has seen change. On any given Sunday there may be found but a remnant in our churches. If you look closely at the age groupings you will see differences that were not present even a decade ago. I spoke of my "family's" pride at my early service to God and Country, but I didn't mention my pride because at that time the biggest reason for doing the services was money. $5 went a long way in 1962, and I hadn't lived long enough to reach a level of maturity that brought about any real understanding. I knew growing up that some funerals were "different." Uncle Ed in '55 and my paternal grandfather in '56, the flag and the rifles wielded by the uniformed men, the same guys that worked in the hardware store or the filling station, but on special occasions carried the American flag at the front of the parade and were ever present at the military services. The funerals became a sort of parade for me as the sixties came and went. The money for doing the funerals got better as I moved up in the ranks to "organist" and "soloist" for the services, but it never really "got to me" until I watched men die for their country. Then it dawned on me in a flash of inspiration that can only be described as extraordinary! Perhaps that realization is why I write today. I guess some of us are slow to wake to the mournful meaning surrounding the sunset service and the haunting melody of "taps" blown in a graveyard populated by white crosses and flags. "All gave some.....Some gave all." This slogan is being sent across the net Memorial Day Weekend '05 from all points on the compass, as the "giving" continues in lands far removed from our own. Here is my "take" on the day: "Polish with pride what needs to shine brilliantly! Write words of consolation for the living! Wave the flag proudly! Share words of a celebratory nature for the dead! Pray loud, long, and strong for those who, at this very moment, place themselves in harms way for the sake of duty! Take time to consider what has been given for you!" God bless the USA! In Christ's Love, Preacher.

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