On a weekend when everyone is excited about BBQs and and crop tops and the start of summer, let’s not forget the reason we celebrate this three-day weekend. Spoiler alert: It’s not about hot dogs and department store sales and days at the lake. Today is about remembering those whose lives have been laid down for the love of this great nation and all for which she stands. That’s a sacrifice that few of us can comprehend.
This poem [from an anonymous author] is one I found on facebook yesterday, and it is more than fitting for today.
THE FINAL INSPECTION
[ – author unknown – ]
The Marine stood and faced God
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as brightly as his brass
‘Step forward now, marine
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?’
The Marine squared his shoulders and said
‘No, Lord, I guess I have not
Because those of us who carry guns
Can’t always be a saint
I’ve had to work most Sundays
And at times my talk was tough
And sometimes I’ve been violent
Because the world is awfully rough
But, I never took a penny
That wasn’t mine to keep…
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills just got too steep
And I never passed a cry for help
Though at times I shook with fear..
And sometimes, God, forgive me
I’ve wept unmanly tears
I know I don’t deserve a place
Among the people here
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears
If you’ve a place for me here
Lord,It needn’t be so grand.
I never expected or had too much
But if you don’t, I’ll understand
There was a silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod
As the Marine waited quietly
For the judgment of his God.
‘Step forward now, you Marine
You’ve borne your burdens well
Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets
You’ve done your time in Hell.’
Perhaps you have the opportunity today to see a parade, go to a Memorial Day service, or visit a national cemetery to pay your respects. No matter where you are today at 1500, you can participate in the National Moment of Remembrance to honor those who signed the check for freedom with their blood.
If you’d like, you can also make a donation in honor of those we remember today. Here is a list of excellent nonprofits that serve veterans, active duty military and their families.
No matter where you are or what you are up to today, remember the immeasurable cost that was paid so that you can have those freedom to enjoy this weekend, this summer, and this life. Remember the sacrifice, and honor those who made it. May they rest easy, and may we remain vigilant, so that their sacrifices will never have been in vain.
For more on Memorial Day and the lives that have been laid down in the name of freedom, you can see last year’s Memorial day tribute: Y e l l o w S t a r s.
Photo credit: Matthew Modoono Photography