As they stand…this Memorial Day

As they stand…
As we sit in services across this great nation
and we ask them to stand
they stand for us
to remind us
how many who stand for us.

We sit and wonder who are these people that stand around us
Each has a story
Each has a plan
Each has a time they have served.

We have asked in so many services
across this land of vast liberty
in churches
in schools
in meetings
in our homes
to ask those who have served to stand
to be recognized.

We asked them to stand and serve
to serve what for what they believe
to serve for what others believe
for what we as a nation believe.

As they stand…
We remember those who are not with us
thankful for those who still stand with us
reminded of what they stand for
reminded for what they stood for
proud of their time served.

As I sit…
I wonder
what have I done today
to serve this great nation
that provides this fertile ground I call home.

As I sit…
I look at those who stand
honored to be among great leaders
those who stood strong
and carried the altar of freedom
in their hands
holding firmly to protect
lightly enough to not to shatter.

As I  sit…
I remember to recognize
those who stand!

As they stand!

I wrote this in the middle of church service today, the day before Memorial Day 2010. I was struck when the preacher asked for those who have served this nation, stand to be recognized. Men and women of all ages stood, hundreds of them from all walks of life, those with different ethnicities, ideologies, ages, branches of service, and times served. I was struck by the visual of those standing, as I sit in the pew wondering the true definition of Memorial Day. So my pen took over and I filled up every white space possible on my bulletin. But as I wrote, I was inspired three times in the service: when they stood, a passage from the litany*, and the chorus of the hymn**.

* From the Litany of Psalm 90
“People: May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.”

** From “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me!

I memorialize those who faithfully served this great nation, to provided the very freedom I enjoy daily!

I leave you with this letter by President Abraham Lincoln to a Mrs. Bixby, one I think of all the time. So eloquent the words I feel explains the true blessing this nation has been afforded by those who we memorialize.

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln