Today I came across a journal page where I’d done some word research on the word memorial, probably for a sermon or a paper. I think it jumped out at me because it’s Memorial Day and for many people that simply means a day to open the pool or a nice long weekend to have time with family and friends.
One bit I copied onto the page says that memorial is extracted from the Late Latin word memorialis, which means “belonging to memory.” That strikes me as the place where the living and the dead are still a part of one another; they are there in our memories, we are part of their story. It seems simple, I know, but it feels profound to me that those who have put themselves in the gap between dictator’s armies and the oppressed, who stand ready to protect the free will God gives his creatures from misuse, who pull victims of nature’s wrath from the midst of destruction and give them care and a meal, belong in our national memory for their willingness to do these difficult and dangerous tasks.
Today is for us to enjoy, yes. It is also for those who belong to our national memory – the 4,083 who have died in Iraq to date, and those many from conflicts past each of whom accepted the call to go knowing it could mean losing their life to the cause. You belong to us. You are a part of our memory. You will not be forgotten.