Memorial Day is this Monday, May 25 and seems quite early relative to our inner calendars. Can summer really be just around the corner? End-of-school activities, exams, graduations, moving children in-and-out of dorms and apartments, and sporting events often distract us from the gravitas of this holiday’s observance. In addition, few of us have any family serving in the United States armed forces. Since service is volunteer only, we aren’t surrounded and touched by the impact of having numerous family and friends drafted and deployed.
Although my father and uncle served in Korea and Vietnam, respectively, it was my grandfather’s service in the Army as a Chaplain in World War II that has most resonated with me. I learned much about his experiences in the book, Padre Down Under, that he wrote about his experience serving in the South Pacific.
At age 36, pastor George Chappell Hardy felt the call.
The blood of my ancestors, who had fought in every war in United States history, had begun to stir in me a year and more before Pearl Harbor.
…the Church should go with the men wherever they had to go; that in war they needed religion as never before in their lives.
from Padre Down Under
He served two years in the South Pacific theatre with infantry units, ministering to the survivors, injured and dying. No doubt many of you have similar tales of your ancestors. In the midst of grilling burgers, taking study breaks, unloading cars or relaxing at the beach, take a moment to give thanks for them and the other men and women who have carried the load for us.
If you want a meaningful and inspiring way to remember those who have served, come to St. James’s Memorial Concert on Sunday evening, May 24 at 7 p.m. The Festival Choir and Orchestra will perform Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, arguably one of the most beloved and renowned piece of sacred music ever composed. Many of the posse, including myself, will sing. The concert is free and will be followed by a champagne reception.
Thanks to the sacrifices of our military members, may the blessings of life in our United States of America shine upon you this weekend.
Friday, May 22, 2015