Memorial Day

Daily Reading for May 28

There used to be parades in every town at this time of year in honor of those who died in the defense of our country. Old guys in uniforms they wore as young men marched along Main Street with the high school band and last year’s homecoming queen, and every fire engine the town had crawled through town at the end, blowing its siren. People along the route clapped and cheered. Some of them waved little American flags.

Some towns still have a Memorial Day parade, giving in to the odd human desire for a ceremonial walk to mark important times and feelings. Parades are pretty universal. We have them when people get married and when they die. We have them when people graduate, and years later we still choke up when we hear “Pomp and Circumstance.” We have them in churches, when people bow as the cross passes before them. We have them in synagogues, too, parades in which people dance with the sacred scrolls of the law.

Special walking happens in enough different places, and for enough different reasons, that it seems safe to say that it’s something human beings need to do. People need to have parades. You don’t necessarily need to be in the parade. But you probably need to see one from time to time. It gives you a place to remember. Unless there’s a parade, some kind of special occasion that demands our attention, we’ll just go on being busy. And soon we’ll forget that we owe a lot to those who have gone before.

From Finding Time for Serenity by Barbara Cawthorne Crafton. © 1994. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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