This past weekend I had the privilege of participating in a memorial service for a loved one in San Diego. Our beloved grandfather (through marriage, and great-grandfather to our children) passed away last week, and we all scrambled to fly to San Diego and celebrate his life.
Being a Mennonite, I had not previously had an opportunity to be exposed to a ceremony which included military honors. However, I have always adopted the philosophy that although our Mennonite theology is one of pacifism, we would not be able to have the choice to worship freely if those liberties hadn't been defended, fought for, and if many hadn't sacrificed their lives for them. So my belief on that matter has always been a very thoughtful one, and quite frankly with the threats our nation now faces, well, it's complicated,,,but I digress.
While poring over many photographs and memories of our dear grandfather, I learned about the Murmansk Run and how dangerous that passage was during World War II. So dangerous in fact that our grandfather, who was a Gunner in the Navy, had earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
The graveside message that the Reverend left us with will stick with me for a very long time. He opened by saying, "No matter what your political beliefs are in this heated election year, there's nothing that unifies us greater than the loss of someone who has served our country."
And that, my friends, is why I have had many conversations over the course of this Memorial Day weekend, to stop, pause, and make sure my 6 year-old and my 2 year-old, understand why they have the day off school, and how important Memorial Day is, not just today, but every single day. Blessings to all the families who have lost a loved one who has made the ultimate sacrifice, and to all who are serving and have served our great country.