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MEANING OF MEMORIAL DAY
The Meaning of Memorial Day
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The Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember and honor all Men and Women who serve in all military, police, fire, rescue and service organizations and who risk their lives for the cause of freedom and the rendering of aide to the relief of suffering in America and throughout the world. I believe it can also be a day to honor those courageous souls who may be ordinary citizens who have in some way gone above and beyond the call, perhaps putting their own lives on the line for the defense and protection of victims of crime or abuse.

I am continually amazed to hear or see accounts of ordinary people who in extraordinary circumstances, jeapardizing their own safety, will step forward to render aide to others, often total strangers. These dear souls are an inspiration to me and cause me to reflect in consideration to wonder if I could do the same if called upon. Such people as described above will be the focus of my thoughts, gratefulness and prayers this weekend. I would hope that in between the barbeques and picnics that all would take a few moments to remember and honor such souls and to give thanks for the freedoms and spiritual gifts which they afforded us and which I hope we as a people will never take for granted. May each of them and all of us be richly blessed and rightfully guided now and always...

This Memorial Day presentation will offer a collection of tributes including one of my favorite orators, "Oliver Wendell Holmes". Excerpts from his famous speech delivered in 1895 are posted below. His thoughts and words still seem most relevant today. See if you don't agree. I also share some very special "Memorial Day Stories", "Memorial Poems and Sayings" also posted below. I hope this Memorial Day Offering may help you to honor and celebrate the true "Reason for the Season..." Mahalo nui Aloha, Michael AngelOh

MEANING OF MEMORIAL DAY
Memorial Day Speech "To Honor and Remember"
excerpt from an address delivered on Memorial Day, May 30, 1895
by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
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The society for which many philanthropists, labor reformers, and men of fashion unite in longing is one in which they may be comfortable and may shine without much trouble or any danger. The unfortunately growing hatred of the poor for the rich seems to me to rest on the belief that money is the main thing (a belief in which the poor have been encouraged by the rich), more than on any other grievance. I have heard the question asked whether our wars were worth fighting, after all, there are many poor and rich who think that love of country is an old wife's tale, to be replaced by interest in a labor union, or, under the name of cosmopolitanism, by a rootless self-seeking search for a place where the most enjoyment may be had at the least cost.

Meantime we have learned the doctrine that evil means pain, and the revolt against pain in all its forms has grown more and more marked. From societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals up to socialism, we express in numberless ways the notion that suffering is a wrong which can be and ought to be prevented, and a whole literature of sympathy has sprung into being which points out in story and in verse how hard it is to be wounded in the battle of life, how terrible, how unjust it is that any one should fail. Behind every scheme to make the world over, lies the question,

"What kind of world do you want..?"

MEMORIAL DAY POEMS STORIES
Memorial Day Poems Stories
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The ideals of the past for men have been drawn from war, as those for women have been drawn from motherhood. For all our prophecies, I doubt if we are ready to give up our inheritance. So sang Tennyson in the voice of the dying Merlin :

"When I went to the war, I thought that soldiers were old men..."
I remembered a picture of the revolutionary soldier which some of you may have seen, representing a white-haired man with his flint-lock slung across his back. I remembered one or two examples of revolutionary soldiers whom I have met, and I took no account of the lapse of time. It was not long after, in winter quarters, as I was listening to some of the sentimental songs in vogue, that I had heard" :

"Farewell, Mother, you may never see your darling boy again..."
It came over me that the army was made up of what I should now call very young men. I dare say that my illusion has been shared by some of those now present; as they have looked at us upon whose heads the white shadows have begun to fall. But the truth is that war is the business of youth and early middle age. You who called this assemblage together, not we, would be the soldiers of another war, if we should have one, and we speak to you as the dying Merlin did in the verse which I have just quoted. Would that the blind man's pipe might be transformed by Merlin's magic, to make you hear the bugles as once we heard them beneath the morning stars..!

"The War, the Comrade, Father of Honor,
and Giver of kingship, the fame-smith, the song master..."

Priest, saith the Lord, of his marriage with victory. Clear singing, sweet spoken, soft finishing, making death beautiful. Life but a coin, to be staked in a pastime, whose playing is more than the transfer of being. Arch-anarch, chief builder, Prince and evangelist, I am the Will of God..." War, when you are at it, is horrible and dull. It is only when time has passed that you see that its message was divine. I hope it may be long before we are called again to sit at that master's feet... It is the more necessary to learn the lesson afresh from perils newly sought, and perhaps it is not vain for us to tell the new generation what we learned in our day, and what we still believe. That the joy of life is living, is to put out all one's powers as far as they will go. That the measure of power is obstacles overcome. To ride boldly at what is in front of you, be it fence or enemy. Life is not lost for which is bought endless renown. We learned also, and we still believe, that love of country is not yet an idle name...

"Dear country! O how dearly dear..."
Ought thy remembrance, and perpetual band be to thy foster child, that from thy hand did commune breath and nurture receive..! How brutish is it not to understand how much to her we owe. That all us gave, that gave unto us all, whatever good we have... As for us, our days of combat are over. Our swords are rust. Our guns will thunder no more. The vultures that once wheeled over our heads must be buried with their prey. Whatever of glory must be won in the council or the closet, never again in the field. I do not repine. We have shared the incommunicable experience of war. We have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top...

PRAYER FOR MEMORIAL DAY
Prayer for Memorial Day
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Eternal God, Creator of years, of centuries,

Lord of whatever is beyond time. Maker of all species and master of all history. How shall we speak to you from our smallness and inconsequence. Except that you have called us to worship you in spirit and in truth. You have dignified us with loves and loyalties. You have lifted us up with your loving kindnesses. Therefore we are bold to come before you without groveling, though we sometimes feel that low, and without fear, though we may often be anxious. We sing with spirit and pray with courage because you have dignified us. You have redeemed us from the aimlessness of things going meaninglessly well.

God, lift the hearts of those for whom this holiday is not just diversion, but painful memory and continued deprivation. Bless those whose dear ones have died needlessly, wastefully, as it seems, in accident or misadventure. We remember with compassion those who have died serving their countries in the futility of combat. There is none of us but must come to bereavement and separation, when all the answers we are offered fail the question death asks of each of us. We believe that you will provide for us as others have been provided with the fulfillment of

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted..."
By Rev. Dick Kozelka (ret)
(First Congregational Church of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN.)
Please consider sharing this message with others.


MEMORIAL DAY PROSE
Memorial Day Prayer
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"Greater love hath no man than this,
that he lay down his life for his friends..."

~Jesus Christ~ (John:c15:v13)


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