“One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.”~Antonio Porchia
Traditionally, Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have died in the service of our country. A time to reflect on what and who we have lost–and how we came to lose them. It is a day on which we take time to remember how far we have come, the victories and mistakes that brought us here, and the unconscionable cost of it all.
Few, if any, of these people will ever be decked with medals for their bravery or honor. Few will be remembered at all for their patient toil–which took their whole lives. There will be no parades to honor them when they are gone, no Presidential speeches to reconcile us to their loss. Yet, should we value them the less for that? I think not. Their work, though often humble and inglorious, is done patiently, constantly, and proudly, without hope of reward or recognition. Then too, remember that those who died in war, died so that future lives would carry weight; and thus, so these self-same honest workers could continue on, unhindered, to make the future hopeful with their work.
So let today be for the dead. Remember each and every deed and soul, and why they were lost. But let tomorrow be for the living, and all the days that follow. When you walk down the streets, spare a smile for the street sweeper, or the old man planting flowers to make tomorrow bright. When you reach your school or office, hold the door for the cleaning lady, and ask her how she is. Send a note to your favorite teacher, telling them how they changed your life, even, and most especially, if you haven’t seen them for years. Thank the bus driver who takes you home, and the postman who brings that much hoped-for parcel.
So as we stand on the evening of remembrance, I would wish you three things for the future: Remember those who are gone, respect those that are living, and most importantly, today and everyday, remember that you–you personally–whatever your calling or profession, are part of this.
Be kind to yourself, for you are the future.