Memorial Day a chance to reflect, come together - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Memorial Day a chance to reflect, come together

May 16th, 2019 development
Memorial Day a chance to reflect, come together

By Rabbi Irwin Wiener
Guest Columnist

In an instant we are here and in another instant we are not.  Some call it the journey of life — it is the most common expression.  However, life, as we know it, can be more than a journey.

Life can be an exciting adventure.  Life can be a trip to places never before imagined.  Life can be all these things and more—even as we gain years.

Some look into a mirror and see nothing but age, which seemed to have appeared without notice.  Others look into the mirror and see maturity as a sign of longevity and survival.

  There are others who will look into a mirror and see the past — no regard for the present or the future.

How do we reconcile reality with fantasy?  How do we determine that the time we have allotted deserves our complete attention?  How do we make our wishes come true?  Finally, how do we mix all this together to bring fulfillment to our lives?

All of these questions, as we gaze into the mirror of truth, are not entirely answerable.

I would imagine that these thoughts ran through the minds of our service men and women who were thrust into harm’s way because of turmoil within the framework of human existence.

  Perhaps, these brave men and women thought of what was and what could be in the same instance.

We pause as a nation; to pay tribute to all of them in an instant called Memorial Day. 

The thrill of the ride is over for these men and women who proudly wear the uniform of this great country and have offered the ultimate sacrifice.

Now we gather to harmonize the drama that became history. There are no more tomorrows or dreams that give us purpose and hope. There is no more of so much that we take for granted.

Our nation recognizes the frailties of life and sacrifices made in our behalf.

We pause to remember.  More than that, however, we express our gratitude in our sorrow because we understand that without their devotion we would not be here to remember.

Some of us will cry.  Some of us will bow our heads in pain.  Some of us will visit cemeteries.  Some of us will picnic and join together for family gatherings.

There is no wrong way to commemorate the moment of remembrance.

Each display of allegiance should remind us about the goodness of today and the blessings of tomorrow.

I am reminded of a cartoon I saw in which a child is kneeling in prayer and says,…”and just so you know, I had a very good day today, so I’d like more of the same tomorrow.”  This is how we can pay our respects to the many who no longer walk among us.

We can always find reasons to complain, but a simple gesture of gratitude can also wipe away the feelings of regret.

On this solemn occasion we should express our thankfulness for bringing us all together.  Our words and gestures should teach us how fortunate we are to live in a country that cherishes the sacredness of life.

May our memories give us hope. More than that, may our memories be a reminder of how much we owe to those we stop to consider at this time of dedication.

Rabbi Irwin Wiener is spiritual leader of the Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation.