"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
Yesterday morning, we were driving home from church and Schroedter asked what Memorial Day was -- and it sparked a discussion. Not so much a discussion with Schroedter but a discussion between Robin and I about how to define Memorial Day.
Robin's immediate answer was, I imagine, the one she's been taught her whole life. Memorial Day is the day we remember the people who died fighting for our country, fighting for our freedom. (not an exact quote, probably, but I remember the words "our country" and "freedom" in there).
At that point, I objected.
The "fighting for our country" bit is tricky. Certainly the soldiers in Iraq are fighting under the flag of our country and are commanded their by the President of our country ... and in that respect they certainly are "fighting for our country" the same way Albert Pujols is "playing for the Cardinals." But when a war is not in the best interests of our country, it's hard to parse that.
The "freedom" piece is a no-brainer, though. There is nothing about what is going on in Iraq that is about fighting for our freedom ... in fact it is having the opposite effect.
For me, Memorial Day has always conjured up images of WWII vets, and so "fighting for our freedom" really did fit ... so I completely understand how those words came to mind. But that really hasn't been true in awhile and certainly isn't true, now.
Yet still, the sacrifice of these soldiers must be honored. Our troops in Iraq -- drawn overwhelmingly from the poorer economic classes and young men and women who signed up to be part of the National Guard (a force that, by it's own name, connotes domestic deployment ... and by the way, now that it turns out that in places like Arizona and Kansas we might actually need it, it's not there) ... they need to be honored, the living and the dead.
What did we end up telling Schroedter? I suggested "people who died in war wearing the uniform of our country" is who we remembered this Memorial Day.
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"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."