Happy/Sad Memorial Day

I hate making suggestions for what other people should do or think. It’s just  an obnoxious thing to do.  If there’s one thing I think we could all use less of, it’s people telling us what we should and shouldn’t do, think, and be.

Luckily, when I give advice, it never fails to be inspiring and breathtakingly helpful. And good thing, too. Otherwise, I might ever be mistaken for one of those intrusive, overbearing,  judgmental  windbags who are forever telling people what’s really best for them.

Here’s my advice for what to do today, Memorial Day 2008: Do not go to the beach. Do not drink beer. Do not make a point of in any way enjoying the fact that you have a day off work.

Instead, spend the day being emotionally devastated over all the young, strong American soldiers who have ever been killed in war. Think of the men who have lain awake through the long, dark night, knowing that at dawn they would charge and die. Think of all the soldiers who so readily put the lives of others ahead of their own. Who gasped their last on foreign soil. Who so believed in what America stands for that they considered it an honor to die for it.

Well. That is an awful lot of pain to spend a whole day on.

So I’m changing my advice. Spend as much time as you can emotionally bear on our awesomely brave champions, our passionate patriots, our beloved defenders who in their prime purposefully and willfully gave their all.

And then have that beer, if you want. Go to the beach. Joyfully celebrate the life and freedom for which so many strangers to you — so many brothers and sisters of yours that you never met — traded their lives.

Here’s to them all. I hate to think of what my life would be without them.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://gideontrust.org Rick

    Maybe it's time to remember the 5 million Iraqi refugees who seem to have been forgotten by the world. Maybe we should spend the day regarding the American murder of civilian Iraqis by the thousands in the siege upon Falugah. Maybe we should remember that these people are not soldiers – they are people like you and I that are being killed and sent away.

  • http://gideontrust.org Rick

    Maybe it's time to remember the 5 million Iraqi refugees who seem to have been forgotten by the world. Maybe we should spend the day regarding the American murder of civilian Iraqis by the thousands in the siege upon Falugah. Maybe we should remember that these people are not soldiers – they are people like you and I that are being killed and sent away.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Beautiful, Christian. Thank you.

    Extremely touching, Winey.

    Rick: I'm a tad uncomfortable with the word "murder," but certainly sympathize with the sentiment you've expressed. The nightmare of what's happening in Iraq is … certainly beyond anything I'm capable of expressing.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Beautiful, Christian. Thank you.

    Extremely touching, Winey.

    Rick: I'm a tad uncomfortable with the word "murder," but certainly sympathize with the sentiment you've expressed. The nightmare of what's happening in Iraq is … certainly beyond anything I'm capable of expressing.

  • http://wineymomma.wordpress.com wineymomma

    Several years ago they showed “Saving Private Ryan” on tv on Memorial Day. I was a basket case after the first 5 minutes because of thinking about the lost lives, lost potential, lost children…

    I had to turn it off and go for a VERY long walk to feel a little less sad…

  • http://wineymomma.wordpress.com wineymomma

    Several years ago they showed “Saving Private Ryan” on tv on Memorial Day. I was a basket case after the first 5 minutes because of thinking about the lost lives, lost potential, lost children…

    I had to turn it off and go for a VERY long walk to feel a little less sad…

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    Fantastic idea. Such balance–I love it.

    In the same vein as Winey–to this day I cannot watch "We Were Soldiers." A good and important story…just too sad for me to remain in the experience.

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    Fantastic idea. Such balance–I love it.

    In the same vein as Winey–to this day I cannot watch "We Were Soldiers." A good and important story…just too sad for me to remain in the experience.

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    We just got back from Monocacy National Battlefield. It’s a beautiful place and it was a beautiful day. We try to visit one of the local forts or battlefields each year on this day – if we can successfully avoid the extended family barbecues. For me there is something very spiritual about these places, especially the civil war sites. So much bravery, so much valor, pain and suffering and for what? As they say, brother against brother. But doesn’t that really describe all war?

  • http://www.grace-gracetoday.blogspot.com Grace

    I raise my tall glass of sweet tea once again.

    "Thank you."

    And thanks to you too, John.

  • http://www.grace-gracetoday.blogspot.com Grace

    I raise my tall glass of sweet tea once again.

    "Thank you."

    And thanks to you too, John.

  • Leif

    Well said. Thank you.

  • Leif

    Well said. Thank you.

  • http://www.sheppardministries.com Greta

    good advice!

    'mixed emotions' are good for us…..we'll not get stuck in an emotional rut….

  • http://www.sheppardministries.com Greta

    good advice!

    'mixed emotions' are good for us…..we'll not get stuck in an emotional rut….

  • arlywn

    I worked… then had a cookout… inside. Ihope our troops had a fairly okay memorial day- but… somehow I dont think Iraq is the best place to be… not on memorial day at least. Kinda depressing to remember that.

  • arlywn

    I worked… then had a cookout… inside. Ihope our troops had a fairly okay memorial day- but… somehow I dont think Iraq is the best place to be… not on memorial day at least. Kinda depressing to remember that.

  • Dan Harrell

    I can never experience Memorial Day without thinking of the poem, In Flanders Field. http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/flanders.htm

    The story of the poem and the author is amazing.

    Thanks John

  • Dan Harrell

    I can never experience Memorial Day without thinking of the poem, In Flanders Field. http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/flanders.htm

    The story of the poem and the author is amazing.

    Thanks John

  • Lynn

    “Here’s to them all. I hate to think of what my life would be without them.” Yes, John, I am in full agreement. My father fought in WWII and Pearl Harbor, my younger brother fought in the Gulf War and Desert Storm, my former husbands fought in the Viet Nam war, and a cousin fought in the Korean War. I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like without the freedom we experience 24/7. We are truly blessed to be living here in the United States.

    Thanks for this post regarding Memorial Day.


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