In Old Testament times, persons would wear sackcloth, a coarse fabric made from goat hair, and put ashes over their heads to symbolize they were mourning a loss.
Monday, May 30, is Memorial Day, the day Americans honor those who died while in service to our country.
Memorial Day comes to us in the spring of each year, a time when the earth begins its annual rebirth. Temperatures moderate, the grass and trees turn green, flowers bloom; it is a time of lifted spirits and renewed energies.
And yet, on an often beautiful spring day, we are called upon to memorialize the dead, those who gave their lives for the United States of America, in lands both near and far.
What are we to make of this odd dichotomy? How are we to live this rebirth, while yet honoring those who died so we could enjoy it?
The answer is this: if we could speak to the dead, they would tell us that they would not want us to wear sackcloth and ashes on this day.
Honor them, yes. Remember them, yes. But they would say go out; picnic, barbecue, or just simply play on a beautiful spring day, because they are so few.
The dead would tell us that had they lived, they would be doing the exact same things.
Enjoy Memorial Day as a free American; but remember to honor and respect those who made it possible.