Friday, November 11, 2011

To be in Christ: after the bombers have gone, the fires still burn, burning still in memory

It was the darkest of nights. The campfire illuminating our young faces. A scout master stood, spoke. Another stood, drew his bow: an arrow disappeared into the night. It was 1943.

Today is Veterans’ Day. His is a remembered shadowy form; he was the patrol leader and we were on a night hike up to the searchlight by the airport; he was older by three years, soon drafted, soon overseas.

On this day, we of the alliance of World War I remember; but others as well. Annelie and her friend, Hedi, went on holiday to Paris, a goodbye after we married. There were glares as they freely used their German accented French; then they remembered what day it was. We all have our remembrances, war after war, wars after that “war to end all wars.”

If you are an older American, you probably will remember this song,
               What a show, what a fight, We really hit our target for tonight.
                Now with one motor gone, We will still carry on,
                Coming in on a wing and a prayer.

Annelie is not angry at those pilots, nor am I, most certainly not. I am angry at the triteness of the song writer, and embarrassed to remember that I, too, sang it with gusto and ignorance and naiveté. Oh, the factory was destroyed, but the homes burned as long as it did. I still want to be patriotic, still do, still am. It is that my thoughts and feelings are now so much deeper, concerns broader. More importantly, I want to be “in Christ.”

On this day when we honor veterans, I also honor those veterans who crouched in that basement cellar, her grandmother and mother bowed over Annelie and covering her, the hunched back older man who went out into the dark before the door was barred to see that everyone was off the street. I offer my thoughts of respect to so many others, the men, women, and children of Russia, China, Vietnam, Egypt, Korea, Iraq: so many. I also remember the statue of a WWI dog in a museum when we vacationed in Canada; I suspect some from Vietnam and elsewhere remember their dogs, too. So much chiseled into memory cells; so many forms that emerge and recede into the shadows. 

There is much in remembrance, much to be forgiven along with the unforgettable. I, and I hope you, want to be “in Christ” on this day. If you are not a Christian, please, hold out your hands, let us touch fingers.

It may be that when you get to reading this 
blog you will get to thinking about someone.
                                                                                Call them up, if you can't do that, say a   
prayer for them. Maybe that is the best that
you can do, and that's good, too.

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