This weekend we will spend extra time with our families as we enjoy a Memorial Day holiday from work. Memorial Day was originally known as “Decoration Day” because it was a time set aside to honor the nation’s Civil War dead by decorating their graves. It was started by two Mississippi mothers who laid wreaths on the graves of soldiers both Confederate and Union, because, “after all, they are somebody’s sons.” How far we have strayed from that generosity! Today, we can’t seem to even allow “the other side’s” opinion to have worth, much less decorate the graves of their dead. And even those who represent us in government fall short as a role model. It seems that Decoration Day was about honor – the type of honor that recognized the humanity in all of us and was concerned with actually binding wounds rather than enlarging them. We have many wounds to bind. And yet, we cannot even come together to talk about them in civility and respect.
It’s more important than ever to be a voice for peace and justice. But at the same time, we must be like those Mississippi mothers and see the humanity on both sides of this great debate – and we must be willing to meet that humanity in the middle. What a challenge it is to honor others despite our philosophical differences with them – it is the foundation of peacemaking. Bring a rock or other memento to the Peace Park on Waterworks Hill as a symbol of your honor, reach out to a neighbor you know, or find some other way this weekend to rise to that challenge and BE the change…Betsy