“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
― G.K. Chesterton (b. 1874- d. 1936)
As the end of May approaches, Americans participate in Memorial Day, a day where we remember the military men and women who have died while serving our country. Over the weekend, I heard a homily in Mystic, Connecticut, where the Catholic priest reminded the congregation that we have a duty as American citizens to pray for the souls of our fallen military. He said that these souls might be in Purgatory where they are in need of our prayers. That struck me, as I do remember the fallen each time I post my flag outside, but I often fail to offer my prayers for them. And, as I note in the following paragraphs, which I published last Memorial Day, and are paraphrased here: I have the freedom to post my flag because of them.
So, today, we remember the sacrifices, and the self-giving love of our fallen military members.
We also remember their families who served alongside them, shouldering the burdens of home and family in their absences; and then, in their final, permanent absence. I remember meeting a mother of a deceased soldier, years ago. She was well into her nineties, and to my surprise, shed fresh tears over the loss of her only child, her son, who had died in war. She cried when she spoke about him as if his death had just happened. I was young at the time, and could not comprehend how she had not recovered from her loss after four decades.
I understand now.
You do not recover.
Every flag- draped coffin is an entire world of hopes and dreams which are cut short.
A branch has been cut on the family tree.
Yes, the tree continues on, and may flourish: we pray this for the families of the deceased, especially for their children. We pray that the loss of their loved one may be understood: that they might know that I would not be writing today, a free person, if their loved one had not been in the breach for me.
Today is a somber day where we remember the deceased; and hope that we are using what they earned for us, our freedom, to the best advantage.
May God bless America; and may the souls of our beloved servicemen R.I.P. in the arms of God and the Blessed Virgin Mary; may they rest in the mansions of the Lord, where no mothers cry, and no children weep.*
*Thank you to G. Cameron for sharing the (above link) Mansions of the Lord video.
~To watch: video, Arlington National Cemetery, Changing of the Guard.