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Let's Celebrate One Another

celebratememorialday Let's Celebrate One Another

“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

I've Been Thinking...

Memorial Day weekend, the so-called “official start of the summer.” It’s also the weekend when we are supposed to focus on those who have given their lives for our country. This year, both have taken on new meaning.

It’s hard to “celebrate” the start of summer when millions are still struggling with a new normal and practicing social distancing. So many of us are walking around masked. Millions are desperately struggling to put food on the table, pay rent, or afford diapers for their kids—all in this “most powerful and greatest nation on Earth.”


Memorial Day is a day to honor those who have given their lives for this great country. For the loved ones who survive them, it’s often hard to “celebrate” on this weekend. Many of them are left wondering whether we as a nation really understand their sacrifice. Now, others are asking if we really understand the sacrifice of our healthcare and frontline workers, who are risking their lives every day in a new kind of battle.

I know I try to understand everyone’s sacrifices the best I can. At the same time, there is so much I really can’t understand because I’ve not stood in their shoes. In fact, there is much about our country today that I’m struggling to understand.

I can’t understand why people are fighting about wearing masks. I can’t understand how unprepared the greatest nation on Earth was to protect its citizens. I can’t understand why we don’t understand that everyone has experienced this pandemic in a different way. The person who can’t afford to feed their kids isn’t having the same experience as I am, just as a Gold Star mother who lost her child doesn’t look at Memorial Day as a day for a barbecue.

I consider myself a proud American, but I’m struggling with how we can be the greatest country on Earth if we can’t care for our citizens. How can we call ourselves the most powerful country on Earth if we don’t have the power to protect our most vulnerable? How do we honor those who gave their lives for us if we are at war here at home about who can go outside and who can’t? About what can be open and what can’t? About who will wear a mask and who won’t? About who can afford to eat and who can’t?

I know everyone is tired and ready to get back to work, or ready to go out and celebrate. I get it. These past few months have been difficult on everyone. Some have had it way harder than others. That’s just the truth.

So maybe as we reflect on this long weekend, we can each remember that while we have gone through this pandemic together, we have all had very different experiences. Some have lost their lives or their livelihoods. Others have lost hope. Some are remembering loved ones who lost their lives in a war defending our freedoms. Others are just trying to get back to work so they can put food on the table for their families.

This may be the start of summer, but it’s an uncertain time for just about everyone I speak to, myself included. In fact, it’s a fragile time for so many. So, let’s be gentle with one another. We don’t really know what people have gone through these past few months. We don’t know if that person walking next to us is a Gold Star mom or dad or sibling, or the family member of a health care worker who lost their life keeping us safe.

Let’s try to celebrate one another. Let’s seek to get to know one another. Let’s ask each other how the last few months have been and let others know we are here for them—not just this weekend, but for the long haul as well.

After all, what makes us the country we are is our humanity, our empathy, our kindness, and our effort to understand the other—regardless of whether they have the same opinion about opening up or wearing a mask as we do. If we can try to express gratitude for what we have, who we are, and what we can be as a nation, then we will have a memorable summer. Now won’t that be something to celebrate.



PRAYER OF THE WEEK                                                        

Dear God, may we remember that we are all experiencing this time differently. This summer won’t be quite the same as the rest, but may we each find our own ways to make it memorable. Amen.

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