Today we are much like any other American family. We have cold watermelon, sweet tea, and .10 cent corn to go along with our burgers. I spent some time sprucing up the lawn, and guests will be over later to enjoy the sunshine with us. My mom’s was a military family, and I was raised to remember.
I want my kids to remember, too. So this morning, we did things a little differently than in years past. When my daughter asked when Grandma would arrive and we could eat yummy food and cupcakes, I took the time to explain that today is more than a “party” or time off of school: Today is a day to honor the dead.
“How?” she asked.
In answer, she and I spent time in prayer, not just celebrating the dead, but honoring them. Honoring them by praying for peace. Praying for an end to policies and wars and “conflicts” that steal our often painfully young men and women from us. Praying for the taken lives of soldiers who leave behind moms and dads, sons and daughters, men and women who love them.
We prayed for those with 8 x 10 photos on their mantles, showing sharply-dressed soldiers with closely cropped hair or neatly tied buns, a stern hat upon a still-youthful, trying-not-to-grin face. We prayed for the Sermon on the Mount to be remembered today of all days.
My daughter is young. She didn’t really get most of what I said, or know the full meaning of the things that we prayed for. But I think she got the point: today is not a party, or a barbecue, or a day to glorify war.
Today is a day for peace.
Related post: Celebrating the Fourth of July