Today is Memorial Day. Today, I remember those who gave their lives in sacrifice. I remember the bravery and courage of the men and women of our armed forces, who faced death and lost, in service of something bigger. I remember those who were loved. I remember those who were not. I remember those whose graves are marked and visited. I remember those who died in foreign lands and unmarked graves. I remember those whose final fates are still “officially” unknown. I honor them for doing what they believed to be right.
Today, I remember…
I also remember all of those who died fighting against us. They have paid the ultimate sacrifice, too. All of them. Southern, Northern, German, Japanese, Italian, Russian, Pakistani, Afghani, Iraqi, etc. Many of them also fought for what they believed in. Some, like our own service men and women, fought only because they had to, because they were ordered to. They also died on the altar of war. They also left behind loved ones and ravaged nations.
All of them, no matter what nation, sacrificed their lives to the greatest enemy of all – fear.
Fear is what drives us to drape ourselves in nationalism and decide that our fellow human beings are to be conquered. Fear is what drives us to proclaim that we have the RIGHT to do such things. We have the right to impose our beliefs…our way. We fear the loss of control, or the loss of power, we fear looking weak, or fear being poor and hungry. Fear, fear, fear. Every evil action is motivated by fear.
Fear drives us to greed, to consume more land; land that is not ours. It drove us to murder and relentlessly diminish the native people of this land. So today, I remember the Native Americans who lost their lives and paid the ultimate sacrifice to our military. Do they also get to be honored today for their deaths and loss?
I remember the women and children of all nations who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the human war machine. Those who are, even now, potentially being raided and bombed with drones. Did they also choose an honorable death on the altar of war?
Today, I remember…and because I remember, I weep.
I remember that war is hell and brings hell to earth. I remember that the only thing that can cast out fear is LOVE. I choose love. I choose love for my fellow man over being an “American.” I choose love over the completely random fortune of my birth. Being born in a geographical location, such as the United States, does not give us the right to see ourselves better. We stole most of what we have and pretend to be better than the rest. It doesn’t fly. We should be trying to use our wealth, power, and influence to make the world better.
Today, I remember that the majority of Americans profess to be the hands and feet of God. Yet we come with a spear to our neighbors, many of whom also are Christians. We are killing our family. We are experts in wielding fear, yet the Bible tells us GOD IS LOVE. We are wielding the opposite of God’s nature. We are lost.
Today, I remember that fear brings darkness, chaos, suffering, and death.
Today, I also remember that love brings light, healing, and humanity. Love brings justice. Love brings hope. Love brings heaven to earth.
Everything we do is motivated by fear or love. What are we choosing?
Today, I remember what happens when we choose fear: the loss, the death, the tragedy.
Today, I choose love.