The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Once you get past the idiotic car commercials and all the other ads that bombard us with their Memorial Day sales, I suggest you take a quiet moment to reflect on the true meaning of this very special day. 

For 235 years the citizens of this nation have answered the call to defend it from those who would destroy it, and to come to the aid of other nations who lacked the resources to defend themselves against aggression. Since our nation's founding well over a million Americans have given their lives during time of war, and another million-and-a-half suffered wounds.* Millions more, of course, served our nation bravely during those wars and by doing so willingly disrupted their lives so that other Americans could continue to live in the freedom we cherish.

Today, while countless Americans sit in their easy chairs watching American Idol or Survivor or other mindless forms of entertainment, thousands of young men and women are serving our nation heroically halfway around the world in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places they are not even permitted to mention. They are fighting our enemies in distant lands so you and I won't have to face them here at home. It is not a pretty war, and some of these brave souls are dying, many as a result of cowardly, suicidal acts that don't discriminate between civilians and combatants. But our brave men and women are also working closely with the people of these far-off countries winning their hearts and minds. Our enemy today is like none we have ever faced. They are stateless and live in the shadow areas of many countries. They are a brutal, vicious enemy, an enemy that rationalizes virtually any horrific act as a religious mandate. But one thing we can count on: evil such as this will never prevail.

And so today take a moment to recall those whom you have known who gave their lives for this country, who gave their lives for you. Pray for them and for their families, for those who loved them. Thank God for them and their selfless sacrifices. And thank God, too, for all those who continue serving our unique and blessed nation today.

I have included below a photo of the memorial plaque listing all those in my United States Naval Academy Class of 1967 who gave their lives while serving on active duty. May they rest in the peace of Jesus Christ. They were my classmates and my friends. Many died in Vietnam when we were all young. I miss them and pray for them daily. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

God bless America and those who have died keeping her free.

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