Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4 they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. - Revelation 22:1-5



I saw this picture on Facebook. It comes from the U. S. Navy Media Facebook page. It speaks pages about those who experience war. For many, Memorial Day is truly every day.

Monday, May 27 is Memorial Day. Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May every year. The day is meant to remember and honor those who died while serving in the United States Military.

My father is a Navy Veteran of the Viet Nam War. He served twenty-three years as a Seabee. He served in Da Nang during the Viet Nam War. On Memorial Day my father and mother often go to observances held at Bakersfield National Cemetery. It is the place my parents will be buried upon their deaths.

My grandfather, my father’s father, was an Army Veteran of World War II. He served as one of the “Marsmen” in Burma. They fought to retake the Burma Road and went into China to train the Chinese Army.

When I was growing up, he would often tell stories of his time in Burma and China. He had several “souvenirs” captured from the Japanese. When my grandfather passed away in 2006, I received a book that recounts the war in Burma through the eyes of these “Marsmen”.

My father-in-law was a World War II Army Veteran. He was wounded in the Battle of Okinawa. For that, he received the Purple Heart Medal. Because of his wounds, he spent eighteen months in a Veteran’s hospital. The use of his arm would be limited for the rest of his life. He passed away in 2002.

The story of his being wounded is that a Japanese soldier infiltrated the perimeter and threw a hand grenade into a group of several soldiers, my father-in-law being one. My father-in-law was the only one in the group to survive.

My father-in-law did not talk much about the war. He never went to watch fireworks as they reminded him too much of the war. If I was watching war movies on television, he would discreetly leave the room. In politics, he was very anti-war. War haunted him to the end of his life.

Toward the end of his life, he went to see the movie “Saving Private Ryan”. I told him it was very graphic, but he went anyhow. After the movie, he said, “That was what it was like.”

Many people use the phrase, “They gave their lives for their country.” Andy Rooney served as a war correspondent in Europe during World War II. He refuted that phrase. Mr. Rooney would say, “They didn’t give their lives. Their lives were taken from them.”

War is a terrible event. It brings out the bravery of many. But it also brings out the evil of many. On Memorial Day we honor those who served and whose lives were taken from them and from their loved ones.

For many Memorial Day is every day.

The bible passage I quoted above talks of a new garden of Eden. It will be a day when nations will be healed. 

It will be a day without wars.



Ricky Adams
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California