Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day: Brokenness and Light

I spoke with a good friend of mine on the phone yesterday. He's a veteran of the Korean War, active in the VFW, and the chairperson of his town's Memorial Day parade. This year is also the town's bicentennial, and the powers that be wanted a merged parade: one part observation and one part celebration. (Apparently there aren't enough funds to have a bicentennial blow-out on Independence Day.) Joe's response: "Memorial Day is a solemn occasion. We can't make the parade a big party."

Memorial Day is a solemn occasion.

I am not a fan of war. (Who is?) In fact, I hate it. I think it should be the Very Last Resort Ever.

And yet our world has been a contentious place for millennia, ever since Cain raised a hand against Abel. Or even when Adam spoke blame against Eve, and Eve pointed a finger at the serpent. It's no wonder we default to warfare. It's a broken world we live in.

But the shards of our brokenness admit rays of light.

Case in point: have you heard about the Maine Troop Greeters at Bangor International Airport? Here's a bit of background info from the airport's webpage:

Bangor International Airport is our nation's main departure and arrival point for troops serving our country around the world. Troops are given heart-felt welcomes and good-bys at Bangor, by a steadfast group of Troop Greeters and others.
The "original" Troop Greeters began greeting the troops returning from Operation Desert Storm.
The Troop Greeters at the Bangor International Airport come in at all hours of the day or night to welcome soldiers home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Since May 2003 and the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Maine Troop Greeters have greeted more than 4000 flights and over 800,000 soldiers.

I've had the joy of seeing the greeters in action at Bangor International Airport, and it is awe-inspiring. In a world where words like "tragic" and "sacrifice" have lost meaning, these people, with their relentless dedication, are there to remind us that behind every sacrifice is a person, a family.

I'm not the only one amazed by these greeters. Himself and I watched a public television program about these remarkable folks. And here's a trailer for a movie about them, The Way We Get By. Don't miss this! (Caveat: a bit of coarse language; use your own discretion with children.)

And for me, that says it all.

Thank you.

I'm linking up with Miscellany Mondays.

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