War and Gratitude – Ode to Memorial Day

Lovely little yellow rosebud, hankering to blossom, kissed by the lips of morning dew, blessed are you not to have an enemy in the world. When your life is cut off it is only so that your beauty may adorn a cozy room. No one cries. 

Little do you know of mass murderers, of tyrants and despots, of hatred gone wild, horrifying human beings disgracing God’s image. 

Pity us dear rosebud that too often freedom must be purchased with life’s blood over and again. How grievous to be torn from our dearly beloved; how the heart aches that must live with memories instead of hugs and kisses. Even more tragic than war for freedom, is brothers who annihilate each other in bloodied hope of prevailing in an argument.

O what great suffering man endures to root out a cancer within his body.

What depths of distress the brave militant endure who root out the cancer of paralyzing conflict. 

Rosebud longing to greet the world with open yellow petals let us give thanks together. How shall we express our gratitude to our countrymen who died in battle? What has a pauper to offer the king? Will you send up your rosy fragrance to the heavens where the immortal fallen sit at feast on this day of honor? 

The little rosebud opened gently to reveal an inner petal and with that movement said, "Fragrance I have but it is not gift enough." 

Then let us compose a symphony of thanksgiving with strings and symbols.

Let it sound like heartbeats in fear and then evolve into the sound of angels cheering. Let our symphony end with the ringing of bells, heralding the slain into the kingdom of heaven. 

With help from a passing breeze the little rosebud shook in disapproval.

“Could a tune express the gratitude of millions through the centuries who have benefited by the sacrifice? No, music is not gratitude enough. They bravely suffered terror and death. Men of peace sent to kill and be killed. Music is not gratitude enough.” 

Suddenly my ears opened to the chirping of mourning doves and ruby red cardinals, a cacophony of language. Who will translate for me? 

The birds all said, each in its way, "Their sacrifice means nothing to us, but from our perches on high we see that the only fitting expression of gratitude is to show the fallen brave that you are worthy of their sacrifice. Be truthful and just in all your dealings America. Disagree respectfully, politely and without bitterness. A house divided cannot stand. Embody the values of your constitution. Honor the fallen brave with righteousness. Are you grateful enough?” 

And with that the rosebud blossomed and a new breeze lifted the flag for a show of stars and stripes and I heard bells ringing. The rose whispered, “Gratitude is costly too. May God look upon our nation favorably and may we be worthy of His blessings and protection.” 

Let us say ‘Amen’