Sir Winston Churchill
“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.”
Memorial Day for many is the beginning of summer vacation. It’s the first weekend of fun which most of us begin looking forward to sometime in late January when the temperature is falling and the snow is flying. And yet, the history behind Memorial Day is much more significant and deserves a time of reflection. Why? Because on this day we remember and honor those who have served this country in the armed services and especially those who have given their lives in battle. Memorial Day is a day set aside to give thanks for, and to say thanks to, those who have served this nation and defended the rights and freedoms of our Constitution.
I’m 58 years old and have never really had to think seriously about being drafted. The Vietnam War was over early in my high school years and I was considered an old man by the time any other real conflicts developed. As a result, I may be somewhat guilty of taking my freedoms and “pursuit of happiness” for granted. And yet my love of the study of history and knowledge of present world developments quickly sober me, they help me realize that being born in 1957 in America to a white, middle-class family has afforded me opportunities most of the world’s citizens will never experience.
I genuinely would like to say thank you to those of you either in our congregation or your loved ones, who by choice or through the draft, served this country and placed yourselves in a possible life-threatening situation. I’ve never had to make that type of decision and I’m very grateful to live in a country where so many before my time, and even after my time, said “Yes” and served this country with dignity and honor.