My sincere apologies, I had intended to post this much earlier today. I hope and pray that late is better than never!
Today is Memorial Day, the day on which we honour the sacrifice of those members of our Armed Forces who died in the service of our country, and in the defense of our Nation, the God-given rights and freedoms we enjoy as its citizens, and our national independence and sovereignty. Sadly, Memorial Day has become, to many, little more than the “start of summer,” an occasion for picnics and barbecue, the opening of neighborhood swimming pools, and trips to the ocean or the mountains. But for some of us, it remains a day of solemnity and of mourning, but also of pride and gratitude for the sacrifice of those who died that we might live free.
This year, this day is particularly notable for me, because it is one of the few occasions that Memorial Day as observed, in this post-1968 Uniform Holidays Bill national calendar, falls on the same day as the traditional celebration of Memorial Day (originally “Decoration Day,” when the graves of fallen soldiers were decorated by family members or descendants): May 30th – or as I like to think of it, the “real” Memorial Day!
No specific liturgical commemoration of Memorial Day, per se, appears in The Book of Common Prayer 1928, but a prayer for Memorial Days does, and I include it here, along with prayers for our Armed Forces and our country. Let us by all means enjoy this holiday – it was for such things that our honoured fallen fought and died – but let us not forget their sacrifice, or fail to thank God for it, and for the blessings we still enjoy in this great nation. May He make us worthy of them!
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Fr. Tom Harbold