26 May, 2011  |   Comment

Honorably honor Memorial Day


Wicker Picnic Basket Grass, bystevendepolo

All I’ve ever known Memorial Day for is that it had something to do with the military and we got a bonus day off work. My parents will be here for the holiday weekend. We’re excited to clean out the grill, invite friends over and mix up the lemonade.

The closest Memorial Day comes to ancient rituals is that we’re honoring the dead. The Greeks had a “March Commemoration of the Dead” and the Romans decorated graves with flowers for their Parentalia. The world round, you’ll find humans commemorating their dead in late spring.

Before Waterloo, New York claimed the birthplace of Memorial Day, most people believe it started in Columbus, Mississippi. Fifteen hundred Confederate soldiers and a hundred Union men were buried there — a small group of women put flowers on both Confederate and Union graves.

It helped ease some of the rancor.

Now, of course, we have the Indy 500.

We have ancient commemorations of the dead, Civil war grave decoration and a 500 lap auto race. America, you make me confused in the most lovely of ways.

But I digress.

The thing I love about that story from Columbus, Missouri is that these ladies healed these divisions. These ladies, who certainly had lost family and friends at the hands of the other side, they had the grace and presence to move forward.
To grow.
To heal.

So maybe, this Memorial Day, after commemorating your dead, after watching your race, you spend a minute thinking about some divisions you’d like to heal in your life. Are you in the middle of warring factions? Can you help to broker a truce?

By honoring both sides, you could make a big difference.

Happy Memorial day.
May you enjoy all the lemonade and mosquito spray in the land.


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