I wish you well and happy. I hope that you would have some quality time with your loved ones during this Memorial Day weekend. Historically, the first Memorial Day was nationally observed on May 30, 1868 to honor the Union soldiers who had died in the Civil War (Library of Congress). According to the Administration of National Cemetery (2022), this day was officially recognized as a holiday among the states in 1873. Nearly a century later, Congress moved the Memorial Day to the last Monday in May. The spirit of this day remains the same as to pay respect and honor the U.S. military personnel who sacrificed their lives while serving the uniform.
While the majority of Americans would take advantage of this day to travel or enjoy parties and so forth, some military families may go through grief and cope with loneliness and loss, namely those who just lost their loved ones in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places around the globe where their nation constantly relies on their service and sacrifices. In this respect, please join me in thanking God, praying for those heroic souls and mourning families, and being grateful to the military families who have put their lives in the frontline so that we can all enjoy peace, freedom, democracy, and prosperity. As service members have laid down their lives for us, let us not take life for granted but rather cherish everything we have now even a small can of Campbell’s soup or spam. I used to say to others that grateful people are happy people because their gratefulness is the outward sign showing the contentment of their hearts and minds in life whereas ungrateful people are unhappy because their ignorance blocks them from seeing their very blessedness. Being ungrateful for anything they have, they constantly keep searching for what they already have without having a moment to enjoy the beauty of this short life. Gradually, they become stressed and overwhelmed by worldly things, which do not even care for what they think or how healthy they are. St. Paul always reminded early Christians of the importance of spiritual values: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
In celebrating the Memorial Day and the Pentecost Sunday, let us offer a prayer for the souls of all departed servicemembers and their loved ones. We ask that the Holy Spirit would continue to bless and guide our nation to the right direction by honoring God first, respecting human life and dignity, and embracing liberty and justice for all.
Fr. Long Nguyen