Memorial Day (Long) Weekend Open Thread


This coming Monday we honor those who paid the ultimate price for our nation, and for those veterans who served who have now passed on. It is an important day, or should be, an opportunity to take a moment and reflect upon those who put their lives on the line for our nation, and others as well.

As we know, these days, too many see this weekend as the kickoff to Summer, as an opportunity to get some good sales, or to have cookouts. It is so much more than that, as this veteran highlights. From HuffPo:

Memorial Day for military members is a somber day. It is a day to reflect on friends lost, comrades who gave the last measure for the cause of freedom. We reflect on how God has guided us through battles, storms and driving wind. How God has allowed some us to remain to proclaim the honor of our fallen friends, wounded nonetheless but still here.


When you pray on Memorial Day you should pray with the intent of remembrance and thankfulness. Before you go out and barbeque or hit the beach I want you to offer a prayer for our fallen military heroes and their loved ones. The following is a beautiful Memorial Day prayer by a colleague in ministry Austin Fleming.

Shall we pray?

In the quiet sanctuaries of our own hearts,
let each of us name and call on the One whose power over us
is great and gentle, firm and forgiving, holy and healing …

You who created us,
who sustain us,
who call us to live in peace,
hear our prayer this day.

Hear our prayer for all who have died,
whose hearts and hopes are known to you alone …

Hear our prayer for those who put the welfare of others
ahead of their own
and give us hearts as generous as theirs …

Hear our prayer for those who gave their lives
in the service of others,
and accept the gift of their sacrifice …

Help us to shape and make a world
where we will lay down the arms of war
and turn our swords into ploughshares
for a harvest of justice and peace …

Comfort those who grieve the loss of their loved ones
and let your healing be the hope in our hearts…

Hear our prayer this day
and in your mercy answer us
in the name of all that is holy.

(Click here to read the rest).

May God hear our prayer. May we remember the importance of this level of sacrifice. May we remember the sacrifice made for our freedoms, as President Ronald Reagan noted:

“The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden.” — Ronald Reagan, Memorial Day speech, 1982

As well as Abraham Lincoln:

“That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863

And George W. Bush:

“They defended our nation, they liberated the oppressed, they served the cause of peace. And all Americans who have known the loss and sadness of war, whether recently or long ago, can know this: The person they love and miss is honored and remembered by the United States of America.”

— George W. Bush, Memorial Day Address, 2004


Amen to that. Amen to them all. Amen to the prayers lifted up on Monday to honor and remember those who have been lost in war, those who made the ultimate sacrifice. And may we remember their families and friends, to honor their sacrifice as well, to offer comfort and aid to them, a listening ear, a shoulder on which to cry, a witness to their loved one, and to their lives. May we never forget them. May we always honor them. And may we pay tribute to them this Memorial Day with a moment of prayer, a moment of reflection, and a moment of gratitude for their willingness to fight for our freedoms.

Rest in peace:


On a personal note, Suzy and  I are headed down to Grand Cayman for two weeks. We DSC_0048are looking forward to our time there with friends, and are especially happy that our (oldest) godson and his girlfriend will be joining us for the first week. Now that he is out of college and on his own, it means so much to us that he wants to spend time with us still. What a gift that is.

As happy as we are to be in our new home, we are ready for a vacation after the flurry of activity over the past three months as the house was being finished, moving in, dealing with being back in the early days of the Twentieth Century with no home phone, no internet, and limited television. That said, while we are happy to be connected to the world again, we will be happy to check back out for some R&R. I’ll be checking in when I can, possibly daily, but for the most part, our days will be filled with fun in the sun, and reconnecting with people whom we love.

And with that I take my leave for two weeks. I want to thank KenoshaMarge for her willingness to post when she feels like it in my absence. Thank you so much, Marge!

I wish you all a good weekend, a meaningful Memorial Day, and a good couple of weeks.

This is the Weekend Open Thread.



58 Responses to “Memorial Day (Long) Weekend Open Thread”

  1. kenoshamarge Says:

    This weekend as you so eloquently express is a time for somber reflection, undying gratitude to those that gave all they had to give and to those that still give to keep us safe. It isn’t, IMO, a time for white sales or the like. I tend to get cranky about that.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I completely understand, Marge. I think that sentiment is one people who have had parents serve in the military or who are in the military themselves understand – it is MEMORIAL Day, as in, a day we remember the sacrifices of those who don the uniform.

      Great comment!

      OH – we are in Grand Cayman safe and sound!

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        Thanks for letting us know you are safe and sound. Enjoy your vacation. Somber reflection and undying gratitude are great.

        But so is enjoying the day that God gives us. Have fun and recharge the batteries.

        No vet would begrudge any of us that.

  2. kenoshamarge Says:

  3. kenoshamarge Says:

    Family picnics are wonderful so long as the reason for them is taught to the children. Children need to know why they are free to have a wonderful day filled with fun and sun and maybe NASCAR.

    Or wait, the Granddaddy of them all, The Indy! (Wait, Granddaddy – is that sexist? I get so confused. )

    Why So Many Americans Love The Indy 500

    Why would hundreds of thousands of people travel for hundreds or thousands of miles to spend an afternoon sitting in the Midwestern sun—and keep doing so year after year? For those who make the pilgrimage annually, one word says it all: Indy.

    Few places are more identified with a single event or image than Indianapolis with the 500-mile race that bears its name. The world’s largest single-day sporting event held in the world’s largest sporting venue draws people attracted to the spectacle, who in many cases wish to cross off a major item on their sporting event bucket list. But what keeps such a large percentage of them coming back again and again?

  4. kenoshamarge Says:

    ‘Fiscally Absurd’: Hollywood Moviemaker Has a Blunt Message About ‘Faith-Based Films’

    Joseph took specific aim at the “faith-based films” label, saying that anyone who accepts it to describe his or her work is agreeing with what he called a “strange” cultural paradigm.

    “It’s the idea that somehow films that work hard to keep religion and God out of stories are ‘normal’ and those that choose to let religious themes be honestly reflected in art are somehow strange and deserving of the modifier ‘faith-based.’ I think that’s a huge mistake,” Joseph recently told Faithwire. “It’s especially dangerous because we live in a culture where things can be excluded if they are labeled ‘religious.’”

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Huh – that is an interesting take on the whole “faith-based films.” Definitely something to consider!

  5. kenoshamarge Says:

  6. kenoshamarge Says:

  7. kenoshamarge Says:

    Many nations set aside days to celebrate the end of wars or major battles, and to honor those who fought in them.

    Memorial Day in America is different in that it doesn’t celebrate veterans—we have a different day set aside for that. This federal holiday was designed to celebrate and honor those who have died while in uniformed service to our country in times of peace or war.

    While noble in nature, the day presents a unique challenge to those of us who look for ways to show our gratitude.

    Every year, my church goes long in its efforts to meet that challenge. In the heart of every Memorial Day service, our pastor asks those who have served in the military to stand, and as they do, the church body thanks them with a rousing, heartfelt round of applause.

  8. kenoshamarge Says:

  9. kenoshamarge Says:

    The disabled veteran who learned to walk again

    Arthur Boorman was a paratrooper in the first Gulf War. His service was quite difficult on his body, and he eventually lost much of the use of his back and knees, forced to rely on wheelchairs and canes. Doctors told him he would never walk without crutches again.

    Depressed and immobile, Boorman gained a lot of weight.

    Desperate, Boorman contacted yoga teachers for fitness help. Most took one look at him and said it wasn’t possible.

    But wrestler-turned-yogi Diamond Dallas Page accepted Boorman’s condition as a challenge, and really believed in the 47-year-old veteran.

    In the video that recounts Boorman’s struggle, you see the portly vet struggle to walk even with the help of canes. You see him attempt and fail at balancing in a yoga move. You see him fall again and again — sometimes even flat on his face — and yet you see him get back on that yoga mat.

    Over time, Boorman sheds the pounds, gains strength and flexibility, and, eventually, the ability to not only walk without help, but also to sprint — his long hair blowing freely behind him — down the road.

    “Never underestimate what you can accomplish when you believe in yourself,” reads the script on the video’s close. Grab a tissue and see for yourself.

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      I was crying at the end of that video. And I wanted to make you all cry too. In a very good way. Happy Sunday and Bless our vets.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        Wonderful, wonderful story, Marge. Thank you so much or sharing this with us. And yes, good tears for this amazing vet!

  10. kenoshamarge Says:

    The cartoon below made me cry too.

  11. kenoshamarge Says:

    Victor Davis Hanson: What We Remember on Memorial Day

    From the Civil War to Vietnam and beyond, Americans have struggled to reconcile the duty to honor the war dead with the need to pass historical judgment

    Our own idea of Memorial Day originated as “Decoration Day,” the post-Civil War tradition, in both the North and the South, of decorating the graves of the war dead. That rite grew out of the shock and trauma of the Civil War. In the conflict’s first major battle at Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862) there were likely more American casualties (about 24,000 dead, wounded and missing on both sides) than in all the nation’s prior wars combined since its founding.

    The shared ordeal of the Civil War, with some 650,000 fatalities, would eventually demand a unified national day of remembrance. Memorial Day began as an effort to square the circle in honoring America’s dead—without privileging the victors or their cause. The approach of the summer holidays seemed the most appropriate moment to heal our civic wounds. The timing suggested renewal and continuity, whereas an autumn or winter date might add unduly to the grim lamentation of the day.

  12. kenoshamarge Says:

  13. kenoshamarge Says:

    The 89-year-old veteran who finally learned to read

    Ed Bray stormed the beach at Normandy during World War II, earning two purple hearts. And yet, the toughest thing the 89-year-old said he had to face in his life was his illiteracy.

    For decades, Bray went to extraordinary efforts to keep his inability to read or write a secret. While on the job at an Air Force base, he had a coworker help him with documents. At home, his wife did the same for 62 years until her death in 2009.

    Finally, the determination to shed the shame and learn how to read broke through. “I want to read one book,” he said. “I don’t care if it’s about Mickey Mouse. I want to read one book before I die.”

    In early 2013, Bray found Professor Tobi Thompson at Oklahoma’s Northeastern University. Her patient and dedicated attitude helped Bray accomplish what he never thought possible.

    In February the veteran read his first book, a grade-school biography of George Washington. “It just makes me feel good,” Bray said. He’s since gone on to read three books, and has no plan to stop now.

  14. kenoshamarge Says:

  15. kenoshamarge Says:

    A True Memorial Day Story

    Of newborn life and stubborn survival during World War II

    By Sabrina Arena Ferrisi

    My father’s earliest memories were of sirens blaring. Not from fire trucks or police cars, but the sirens of an air raid.

    The year was 1943. My father’s hometown was just outside of Messina, Sicily. He was one month shy of turning 3 years old and had little knowledge that his island had been caught up in a terrible battle. During that fateful summer of 1943, the American-British allies fought to liberate Sicily from the German Nazi and Italian Fascist forces.

    As the German/Italian forces lost battle after battle, German forces concentrated on Messina. They set up cannons and anti-aircraft weapons all along the beaches, a few blocks away from my father’s house.

    American planes flew overhead during the day of July 14, 1943 – throwing leaflets to the ground with an Italian message. These leaflets warned the civilian population below to evacuate the city because Americans would bomb it in the coming days.

    My father remembers that his uncle Peppino immediately packed two suitcases with food, water and bedding. My grandfather was a petty officer in Italy’s Navy. He was away and no one had any news from him. Peppino took my grandmother – a woman of 26 who was nine months pregnant at the time – my dad and his 5-year-old brother, Nino, and everyone started to walk.


  16. kenoshamarge Says:

  17. kenoshamarge Says:

    Jesse Watters quizzes Memorial Day beachgoers — and the results are hilarious and horrifying

    “Who did America fight in the Revolutionary War?” asked Watters to several beachgoers.

    “The French,” responded one woman.

    “That’s a good question,” said one man. “I don’t know.”

    “China,” answered another young woman.

    “North versus South,” responded one particularly confident-sounding man. “The Confederate versus the Union.”

    Watters also asked people to name the victor of the U.S. Civil War.

    “Britain,” replied one woman.

    “America and Britain and Spain, some part of Spain, and uh, uh yeah,” said another young woman.

    As funny and disturbing as the answers were to Watters’ questions, the results shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Numerous studies and surveys have shown Americans know very little about their own history and even less about world history.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Good. LORD. Our educational system at work in glaring relief. Whew. No wonder we are where we are, huh?

  18. kenoshamarge Says:

  19. kenoshamarge Says:

  20. kenoshamarge Says:

    Malkin: Fallen Marine’s mom teaches powerful Memorial Day lesson

    Lt. Col. Christopher Raible died three days after the 2012 Benghazi attack in the little-remembered Taliban siege on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

    Raible’s mom, Kim, along with the family of fellow fallen Marine Sgt. Bradley Atwell, waged a vigilant battle to keep their heroes’ memories alive and to hold their government accountable for its malfeasance and cover-up.

    This past month, Kim Raible has had to wage another fight on behalf of her son. A few weeks ago, she recounted on Facebook how her request for a local Memorial Day banner in the Pittsburgh suburb of Norwin honoring her son was rejected:

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Wow, good for this mother to push the point, but how very, very sad that she even had to do so…

      Deepest thanks to Lt. Col. Raible and his family for the sacrifice they made…

  21. kenoshamarge Says:

  22. piper Says:

    Thank you for this amazing thread honoring our veterans and all who fought for our freedoms. Also remember those who are still with us suffering from the long term effects of agent orange and/or traumatic injuries.

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Absolutely Piper. No vet should ever be forgotten. The fact that there are homeless vets and vets who are not getting the medical treatment they need is America’s everlasting shame.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      It is the very least we can do – so thankful for those whoa re able and willing to serve our nation, and especially for those who pay the greatest price.

      Well said to you both abt our veterans!

  23. kenoshamarge Says:

  24. Cindyindie Says:

    Wonderful post, Cuzin…..and terrific cartoon graphics from Marge.
    My “big people’s” computer is not well so I can’ t provide a link to my favorite Memorial Day music piece “Mansions of the Lord” from the film We Were Soldiers.
    Today I led a patriotic sing-along at our local nursing home…had a great time. Passed around little American flags for all the residents to wave as we sang! It was fun and mmeaninful and they seemed to enjoy it.
    Happy Memorial Day all!

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I appreciate that, Cuz! And how good of you to go spend time with folks at the local nursing home. I bet they appreciated it, and appreciated the patriotic songs, too.

      Sorry to hear abt your grown up computer. Isn’t that such a pain? Here’s the piece you referenced, and thank you for mentioning it:

  25. creeper00 Says:

    Have a nice vacation, Amy. Nothing can go wrong with Marge in your corner.

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Thank you creeper, what a nice thing to say.

    • piper Says:

      I second that – enjoy your vacation. So happy that you have another gifted writer to blog when you’re away from the ‘office.’

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Thanks, creeper! And y’all are so right – I am fortunate indeed to have Marge wiling to share her incredible talents here, especially while I am on vacation (and sorry for the late response – we just got back from a boat trip to the Bioluminescent Bay, one of the Top 10 in the world. It was amazing!).

      Thank you all for the wonderful comments, and Marge for the great cartoons/stories!

      • cindyindie Says:

        Sounds like a fantastic boat trip! Hope it took your mind off of all of your pain..Bless your heart!
        Continued fun!

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          Thanks, Cuz! It was fun watching the kids have so much fun, and it was a beautiful night, too. Perfect!

  26. kenoshamarge Says:

    One last Memorial Day Cartoon before I sign off for the night.

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