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!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Memorial Day

Dear Diane and I are leaving tomorrow for points slightly north...North Carolina to be exact. I haven't posted too much recently but hope to change that once we return after the holiday weekend.

In the meantime, take some time from the barbeques and other festivities this Memorial Day weekend to remember those who willingly gave their lives for the rest of us. I think of my friends and Naval Academy classmates who lost their lives on active duty in Vietnam and elsewhere: Henry Wright, Guido Carloni, Hal Castle, Bart Creed, Jim Hicks, and so many others. Below is a photo of a plaque in Memorial Hall at the Naval Academy honoring the members of my class who died on active duty. You will notice the last name is that of Mike Smith, the pilot of the space shuttle Challenger. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

I've also included a video that I thought was especially appropriate:

I'll close this post with a quote from President Ronald Reagan, Memorial Day 1986:

I know that many veterans of Vietnam will gather today, some of them perhaps by the wall. And they're still helping each other on. They were quite a group, the boys of Vietnam -- boys who fought a terrible and vicious war without enough support from home, boys who were dodging bullets while we debated the efficacy of the battle. It was often our poor who fought in that war; it was the unpampered boys of the working class who picked up the rifles and went on the march. They learned not to rely on us; they learned to rely on each other. And they were special in another way: They chose to be faithful. They chose to reject the fashionable skepticism of their time. They chose to believe and answer the call of duty. They had the wild, wild courage of youth. They seized certainty from the heart of an ambivalent age; they stood for something.

And we owe them something, those boys. We owe them first a promise: That just as they did not forget their missing comrades, neither, ever, will we. And there are other promises. We must always remember that peace is a fragile thing that needs constant vigilance. We owe them a promise to look at the world with a steady gaze and, perhaps, a resigned toughness, knowing that we have adversaries in the world and challenges and the only way to meet them and maintain the peace is by staying strong. 
God's peace...

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