memorial day observation

Darnell Arnoult was born in Virginia, in 1955. She is a poet and novelist, and identifies as a “cow-girl, sort of.” Like her uncle, and many others in the south, she refers to the soft drink “Coca Cola” as “Co-cola.”

In World War Two
the oldest
of my uncles
picked up
dead bodies
dead weight
some in pieces
and threw them
onto the beds
of trucks.
His work spread
far as he could see.
When he came
home he poured
salted peanuts
into a Co-Cola
and prepared
for life
with folks
who could
never know
some things
as long
as they lived.

Let us now honor those who *do* know those things—our veterans.

If you are on active duty in the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Merchant Marine or Navy, please stand and remain standing.

If you are a reservist in any of those branches, or in the National Guard, please stand.

If you are a veteran of any of the armed forces, please stand.

If you serve or served alternative service as a Conscientious Objector, please stand.

If someone in your family performs or performed alternative service, please stand.

If someone in your family is on active duty, please stand.

If someone in your family is or was in the reserve or the Guard, please stand.

If somebody in your family is or was a veteran of the armed forces, please stand.

…I invite us to look around, and see how many of us have been directly affected.

Finally, let the rest of us stand, as we are willing and able, in honor of all the veterans, women and men, who are still alive.

And may we remain standing as Bob plays “Taps” for all
the veterans who have died.

May our gratitude for their sacrifice not diminish our resolve to create peace; and may our resolve for peace not diminish our gratitude for our veterans’ service.  Please be seated.

(thanks to the Rev. Dr. Lisa Presley, who inspired this ritual)

No comments yet to memorial day observation

  • Marzipan

    As a Veteran, I like to point out that Memorial Day should be for more than Veterans (that is what Veteran’s day is for); Memorial Day should include those whom served their country and have passed away. That should include military, government civilians and even non-governmental agencies. Special thanks should go out to those whose identity cannot be revealed.

  • Thank you, Marzipan, for the reminder about other civil servants. Broadening the scope also makes this originally-peace-based holiday less jingoistic. Let us lift up all those who have worked to create a more just world.

  • Nancy

    thanks for this, Chip. If you don’t mind, I’d like to use it this Sunday morning. We are a congregation a half-hour from the nation’s capital and another half-hour from Quantico. Most of the congregation will be standing by the time I’m finished with this roll call, and that sight will be both striking and pastorally important for us all.

  • Absolutely, Nancy–I post these things for people to use them. May it go well, and nurture and inspire your congregation.

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