“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
This Monday is Memorial Day.
I read somewhere there are three ‘military’ holidays in the United States. One is Armed Forces Day where we honor those who are currently serving. Another is Veteran’s Day on November 11. On this day we honor those who served. Finally, there is Memorial Day where we honor those who died in service to their country.
As best I can tell, Memorial Day was an outgrowth of the many battles fought during the American Civil War.
In honor of Memorial Day, Peggy Noonan had an article in the Wall Street Journal sharing the story of two Generals who were friends. (May 25, 2018)
One General was Lo Winstead who serve in the Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee. The other was Win Hancock who served in the Union.
The two had met in California when they were friends in the Army before the Civil War.
When the country split into the Union and Confederacy, most officers were forced to choose sides. Noonan points out the heartbreaking departure of these two men from one another.
The two would never see one another again.
From a distance, they would encounter each other again in the Battle of Gettysburg. Winstead would lead his troops in the military blunder we now call “Pickett’s Charge”. Winstead would die from his wounds. Hancock would also be wounded but would survive the war.
It is on Memorial Day we honor those who died while serving.
But on this day, we also remember the terrible cost of war. Such a thought should be sobering to all of us.
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California