Memorial Day for People with Short Memories


We Americans don’t have very good memories. We tend to forget people and events as soon as the person is gone or the moment is over. We’re even encouraged to do so by slogans such as “let bygones be bygones.” We say “bye” and then it’s “gone.” But Memorial Day is an attempt to remember fallen soldiers.

But remember that our prayers for peace have been answered many, many times. You could bury a skyscraper in the tickertape that has rained down upon countless cities during countless parades celebrating the “end” of numerous conflicts.

And so let us remember that Memorial Day is not really a day or a weekend. It is a way of life. Let us remember the people who will die as victims of yet another war in yet another distant land.

And so, as we build our memorials, let us place a stone on them in memory of those about to die. And let us pray for a permanent peace that makes it the last stone to be placed on the headstone of war as we beat our swords into plowshares and harvest the fruits of justice, mercy and peace.

Dwight Lee Wolter is the pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York. He blogs at

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