Several years ago, I had the pleasure of celebrating Memorial Day in a small town in a rural area. Families and friends gathered to celebrate. There was a band, picnic baskets, banners and American flags galore. There was even a small but enthusiastic parade. Veterans of all ages and the women and men who loved them marched down the street with joy, pride and gratitude. They were proud of the brave men and women who served their country in life and death. They were grateful for the peace they lived in everyday.
The parade ended with the playing of “Taps”. The sorrowful song brought tears to many eyes. The thought reminds me that because Memorial Day celebrates and remembers the men and women who died in the service of their country, there are many people who will spend this day in deep grief. They will be grieving for the people they love: mothers, fathers, children, grandchildren, lovers and friends. These people are still in the throes of acute grief that has not yet healed. For them, today will be a difficult and painful day.
Like Memorial Day, “Taps” invites people to slow down, pause and feel what it is like to celebrate those who have gone before. It is an invitation to reflect on your own life; to be grateful to be alive and able to live in a country where we have the freedom to choose how we want to live.
Take some time today to remember that not everyone is celebrating, but some are grieving. Take stock of all you have and all you don’t have. Take time to be grateful for what you do have and ask yourself, “What more do I really need?”
Soon after “Taps” was composed, lyrics were written to go with these beautiful and haunting notes. The words are equally as beautiful:
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the skies;
All is well, safely rest. God is nigh.