Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

When I was a chaplain in training, I was presenting a case to my supervisor and he asked what I knew about the background of the elderly patient.  I went over his age, level of education, where he was raised, etc., casually mentioning that the man had fought in the first day of the battle of Iwo Jima.

My supervisor stopped me, paused for a long time, and said, "You have no idea what you just said."  He was right.  I didn't.  I ended up performing the man's funeral and I did a little research and I was in awe of what he had likely experienced and what he had survived.

I will always have an uncomfortable relationship with my country's affinity for war and violence but it is easy for me to stand in awe and admiration of the "Greatest Generation," who faced unimaginable evil in the world and met the challenge.  When we were in Washington, DC a few years ago, we went to the newly-opened WWII memorial and saw many of them, supported at the elbow by wives or children, looking at the stones and the quotes in silent regard. They are growing scarce now, with fewer and fewer who can tell the stories.  Their legacy lives on in a world mostly at peace, however fragile that peace is.

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