Memorial Day quotes, songs & reflections

We see these soldiers as old and wise, but they were boys when they died. They gave up two lives, the one they were living, and  the one they would have lived … — Ronald Reagan

For he today that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother. — William Shakespeare

The rift where the dead speak … — Sunnylyn Thibodeaux

Soldiers don’t get to choose their wars. — Dr Hal Kushner, former POW

So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good. — Helen Keller

The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them. ― Czesław Miłosz

Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken? ― Terry Pratchett

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. — St Ambrose

Memorial Day Songs

Notes on Memorial Day (excerpt) Lillian Daniel

Memorial Day began after the Civil War as an effort toward reconciliation between the families of veterans in the North and the South. After the war, there was already a tradition in the North of decorating soldiers’ graves, called “Decoration Day.” But in 1868 an organization of Northern war veterans decreed it ought to be a national holiday. May 30 was carefully chosen as the date because it was not the anniversary of a specific battle, and therefore would be a neutral date for both sides. But human beings hold on to their wounds, and reconciliation takes time, grace and mercy…

Memorializing Rightly (excerpt) — Debra Dean Murphy

… much of our memorializing will trend, as it always does, toward … the simplistic, the cliche-riddled hyperpatriotism that does a disservice to the women and men who fight and die in wars conceived by powerful men … Surely it’s possible to honor the selflessness that’s part of soldiering and to mourn the fallen without slipping into the kind of sentimental white-washing that denies the complexities and ambiguities, the compromises and betrayals, both large and small, that the war dead knew well? Why, then, can’t we–in their stead, on their behalf, for their sake–be honest enough to honor such truths? … May we remember and memorialize … all deaths, this day and every day, with the truth-telling they deserve.

Film Clips, New Stories, Speeches:

  • Memorial Day Tribute from the movie Taking Chance (may be graphic in its detail, watch with caution)
  • Ragged Old Flag feature from SuperBowl 53 highlighting the country song by Johnny Cash with Marine and US Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter Reflections
  • Memorial Day Speech by Dr Hal Kushner, former Vietnam POW
  • WWII US veteran tells story of his promise to return a fallen US enemy soldier’s flag
  • News video about army brothers standing in for fallen father
  • News Report on march to remind people of veteran suicides as part of Memorial Day observances
  • Honor Walk: Soldier donated organs and saved lives

Memorial Day Prayer — Carl Schenck
We gather on a somber holiday.
We remember with sadness those we have loved and lost.
Let us not glorify the conflicts and violence
that tear our loved ones from us.
Let us, rather, give glory to God,
who calls us to use our freedom peaceably.
Our God is a God of all nations and peoples.
May our worship of God unite rather than divide.

Protest & Peace Songs:

Memorial Day (excerpt)— Michael Anania … We know the stories that are told,
by starts and stops, by bent men at strange joy
regarding the precise enactments of their own
gesturing. And among the women there will be
a naming of families, a counting off, an ordering …

Peace — Langston Hughes
We passed their graves:
The dead men there,
Winners or losers,
Did not care.
In the dark
They could not see
Who had gained
The victory.

Who kept the faith and fought the fight;
The glory theirs, the duty ours.
— Wallace Bruce

You silent tents of green,
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Difference Between Memorial Day and Veterans Day

Memorial Day
Memorial Day commemorates those men and women who died in military service to our country. This federal holiday occurs each year on the last Monday in May.
This holiday originated after the Civil War; from its start, it was observed to honor both Union and Confederate Soldiers who had died.

Veterans Day
 Veterans Day occurs each year on 11 November, commemorating and celebrating the patriotism, service and sacrifice of all those who serve or have served in the U.S. military. In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the battlefield of Europe fell silent after more than four years of fighting. In 1938, Congress declared Armistice Day a holiday, and, in 1954, the name changed to Veterans Day in honor of all U.S. veterans.

… Veterans Day should not be confused with Memorial Day, which is set aside to honor those who gave up their lives in the line of duty.

Major Michael Davis O’Donnell, 1 January 1970, Dak To, Vietnam, Listed on February 7, 1978 as Killed In Action, March 24, 1970:

“If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.”

Memorial Day Reflections

Memorial Day isn’t just about honoring veterans, its honoring those who lost their lives. Veterans had the fortune of coming home. For us, that’s a reminder of when we come home we still have a responsibility to serve. It’s a continuation of service that honors our country and those who fell defending it. — Pete Hegseth

Only the dead have seen the end of war. — Plato

The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. — Douglas MacArthur

This is the day we pay homage to all those who didn’t come home … it’s not a celebration, it is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of freedom. — Tamra Bolton

Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed. — Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. — Mark Twain

Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. — Adlai Stevenson

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter – but beautiful – struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons (and daughters) of God, and our brothers (and sisters) wait eagerly for our response. — Martin Luther King

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them. — John F. Kennedy

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die. — G.K. Chesterton

A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle. — George William Curtis

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived. — George S. Patton A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. — Joseph Campbell

Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history. — Mary Roach

Ceremonies are important. But our gratitude has to be more than visits to the troops, and once-a-year Memorial Day ceremonies. We honor the dead best by treating the living well. — Jennifer Granhol

Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them. — Franklin D Roosevelt

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. — Winston Churchill

…And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice. — Ronald Reagan

The Dead— Rupert Brooke
  These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,       
Washed marvelously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,       
And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known       
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;       
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.  

There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,      
Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white       
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.

But You Didn’t —  Merrill Glass

Remember the time you lent me your car and I dented it?
I thought you’d kill me…
But you didn’t.

Remember the time I forgot to tell you the dance was
formal, and you came in jeans?
I thought you’d hate me…
But you didn’t.

Remember the times I’d flirt with
other boys just to make you jealous, and
you were?
I thought you’d drop me…
But you didn’t.

There were plenty of things you did to put up with me,
to keep me happy, to love me, and there are
so many things I wanted to tell
you when you returned from
But you didn’t.


I have to live if I want to be remembered. ― Suzanne Young

What you remember saves you. ― W. S. Merwin

Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future. – Elie Wiesel

The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out where we have come from and where we are going to, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are and who, for better or worse, we are becoming. But again and again we avoid the long thoughts….We cling to the present out of wariness of the past. And why not, after all? We get confused. We need such escape as we can find. But there is a deeper need yet, I think, and that is the need—not all the time, surely, but from time to time—to enter that still room within us all where the past lives on as a part of the present, where the dead are alive again, where we are most alive ourselves to turnings and to where our journeys have brought us. The name of the room is Remember—the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived. ― Frederick Buechner

Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering. — Theodore Roosevelt

In great deeds, something abides. On great fields, something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls… generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field, to ponder and dream; and lo! the shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls. ― Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Peace Workers

On Memorial Day, I don’t want to only remember the combatants. There were also those who came out of the trenches as writers and poets, who started preaching peace, men and women who have made this world a kinder place to live. — Eric Burdon

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. — Nelson Mandela

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. —John F. Kennedy

It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result. — Gandhi

It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it. — Eleanor Roosevelt

Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come. — Henri Nouwen
  If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace. — Franklin D. Roosevelt

Today, we are truly a global family. What happens in one part of the world may affect us all. This, of course, is not only true of the negative things that happen, but is equally valid for the positive developments. … But war or peace; the destruction or the protection of nature; the violation or promotion of human rights and democratic freedoms; poverty or material well-being; the lack of moral and spiritual values or their existence and development; and the breakdown or development of human understanding, are not isolated phenomena that can be analysed and tackled independently of one another. In fact, they are very much interrelated at all levels and need to be approached with that understanding…  Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each one of us individually. Peace, for example, starts with each one of us. — Dalai Lama

The answer lies in the last word of the priestly blessing: shalom, peace. In a long analysis the 15th century Spanish Jewish commentator Rabbi Isaac Arama explains that shalom does not mean merely the absence of war or strife. It means completeness, perfection, the harmonious working of a complex system, integrated diversity, a state in which everything is in its proper place and all is at one with the physical and ethical laws governing the universe. — Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are. — Hafsat Abiola

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. — Martin Luther King

TUE, MAY 25 – MON, MAY 31 (Memorial Day Weekend)

TUE, May 25

  • Community Event: LISTEN Book Study Group
    9:30am • Zoom link required. (link required – email for the necessary info). Ecumenical study series begins this week. Sue Davidson from the Conway United Methodist Church leads this group and she has a few copies of the book available for purchase ($9).
    • Listen by Rueben P. Job is a 40-day experience created to offer help to those new to prayer, those with a daily prayer routine, and those whose lives seem too busy to pray. With a focus on listening prayer and prayer as a two-way conversation, the experience will assist individuals and groups in building and deepening a personal prayer practice and spiritual discernment.
  • Community Event: CHAIR YOGA
    10am • Zoom (pre-registration required: Pre-registration link.) 
    Free 6-week series/online class sponsored by the Friends of the Whitney Center. Exercise is a key component of a happy, healthy life at any age. If you are looking to create a stronger back or core, needing to stretch from head to toe, well grab a chair and a yoga strap and prepare to explore body strength, mobility and flexibility as this class/series will support you in healthy habits. Includes exercises for strengthening, mobility and flexibility to bring health to the whole body from head to toe. Anjali Rose will guide you virtually in your own home. Dress comfortably, bring a water bottle, chair and yoga strap and commit to a healthier you. Upon registration, any other specifics will be sent to you.
    12:30-2pm • Zoom.
    Meeting of Clergy of the Eastern Slope for peer work and community networking. Rev Gail attends.
  • Community Resource: LIBRARY for PICKUP or BROWSING by APPOINTMENT
    2-6pm • Jackson Library
    Pick up holds, print items, or book an appointment to stay on site and browse.
    Request appointments: 
    Contact the library for additional help: 603.383.9731 or by email:
  • Community Event: VIRTUAL YOGA
    4:30pm • Zoom
    The Friends of the Whitney welcome back yoga instructor, Anjali Rose to host virtual yoga. This yoga class is free to Jackson community residents and is designed for all levels to participate. Each person attending can register and upon registration will receive an email within 24 hours with the Zoom link for the class. It’s important to register as soon as you can and no later than 2pm on Tuesdays.
    7pm • Zoom link required.

WED, May 26

    9am • JCC Parish House (in-person)
    Join us for a free, gentle fitness class. Please let Laurie McAleer know you will attend. Masking and social distancing required.
  • Community Resource: LIBRARY for PICKUP or BROWSING by APPOINTMENT
    2-5pm • Jackson Library
    Pick up holds, print items, or book an appointment to stay on site and browse.
    Request appointments: 
    Contact the library for additional help: 603.383.9731 or by email:

THURS, May 27

  • Community Event: BIRDING in JACKSON
    7:30am • In-person in Jackson.
    Advance registration required. Click here. Spring is here are so are the birds! Brush off your birding skills with Tin Mountain’s weekly bird walks Thursday mornings in Jackson. All birding levels.
  • Community Resource: LIBRARY for PICKUP or BROWSING by APPOINTMENT
    2-6pm • Jackson Library
    Pick up holds, print items, or book an appointment to stay on site and browse. Request appointments: 
    Contact the library for additional help: 603.383.9731 or by email:
  • Community Service: WAY STATION SHIFT
    1pm • Food pickup
    2:30pm • Curbside package preparation
    5pm • Shift at curbside with guests @ 15 Grove St, North Conway, NH
    Rev Gail and JCC volunteers serve this weekly outreach to local homeless and housing-insecure residents.

FRI, May 28

  • Community Resource: LIBRARY for PICKUP or BROWSING by APPOINTMENT
    2-5pm • Jackson Library
    Pick up holds, print items, or book an appointment to stay on site and browse.Request appointments:  Contact the library for additional help: 603.383.9731 or by email:
    5pm • Zoom link required. (link required – email for the necessary info)
    Conversation about this week’s scripture.

SAT, May 29

  • Community Event: BIRDING in the BOG
    7am -10am • Register in advance: Click here to registerMeet at G & S Store in Brownfield
    (Takes place: May 22, May 29)
    Join birders of all levels on this weekly bird walk through the bog and view the rich diversity of bird life that makes it way north to rest or nest. Bring binoculars (or borrow ours), rubber boots, and a snack. This year we are doing this a little different and are requiring advanced registration for this program to keep down group size. Click here to register
  • Community Event: CRAFT & ARTISAN FAIRS 
    10am-4pm on Sat & Sun
    • Gibson Center
    • Schouler Park in North Conway
    • First Church in North Conway
  • Community Resource: LIBRARY for PICKUP or BROWSING by APPOINTMENT
    10am – 2pm • Jackson Library
    Pick up holds, print items, or book an appointment to stay on site and browse. Request appointments: Contact the library for additional help: 603.383.9731 or by email:

SUN, May 30

    8am • Zoom link required. (link required – email for the necessary info)
    Join us for poetry, prayer and conversation. Zoom-only.
    9am • Zoom link required. (link required – email for the necessary info)
    10:30am •  Zoom link required. (link required – email for the necessary info)
    • Join us for worship with music, scripture, prayer and reflection.
    • Live music by Alan Labrie
    • Message with Rev Gail Doktor
    • Stay for virtual coffee hour (via Zoom only).
    • Singing with masks in-person is now in practice for those who wish to join in.
    • In-person attendance requires masks and social distancing.
    • Service will also be live-streamed to website and Facebook (if technology supports this function on the day of event). Afterward, recordings of worship service will be posted to channel & channel.
  • Community Event: CRAFT & ARTISAN FAIRS 
    10am-4pm on Sat & Sun
    • Gibson Center
    • Schouler Park in North Conway
    8am – 4pm


  • Any community events  to be shared as publicized.

This Week: Tue, May 22- Sun, May 27

Highlights: Tue, 5/22 – women’s group, wisdom study group, Wed, 5/23 – pastor’s hours, fitness, Thurs, 5/24 – yoga, drop-off items for estate sale, Camden’s Crusaders fundraiser @ Red Parka, Fri, 5/25 – drop off donations for estate sale / set up, Sat, 5/26 – plant sale & estate sale & library book sale , Sun, 5/27 – interfaith @ gazebo, worship @ church with Memorial Day moment plus community events

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