Only the dead have seen the end of war. — Plato
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
Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion. — Gandhi
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
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.
Songs for Memorial Day Weekend
- Amazing Grace with Bagpipes (instrumental hymn)
- Armed Forces Medley choral performance
- Soldier’s Light by Rylee Preston (pop)
- All Gave Some and Some Gave All sung by Sgt Christiana Ball (country)
- Memorial Day by Coffey Anderson (country)
- More Than a Name on a Wall by The Statler Brothers (country)
- You Should Be Here by Cole Swindell (country)
- I Drive Your Truck by Lee Brice (country)
- Home by Dierks Bentley (country)
- If I Don’t Make It Back by Tracy Lawrence (country)
- The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back by Justin Moore (country)
- Soldier’s Last Letter by Merle Haggard (country)
- Hallelujah Veterans Version by Sailor Jerri (ballad)
- I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan (ballad)
- Some Gave All by Billy Ray Cyrus (country)
- If You’re Reading This by Tim McGraw (country)
- Arlington by Trace Adkins (country)
- Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen (rock)
- 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
- Commencement Address: 10 Lessons I Learned in SEAL Training by Admiral William McRaven
Protest & Peace Songs:
- Where Is the Love? by the Black-Eyed Peas (rap)
- Teach Your Children by Kathy Mattea, Alison Krauss, Suzy Boggus (country)
- Bring the Boys Home by Freda Payne (protest rock)
- Fortunate Son by Creedance Clearwater Revival (protest rock)
- Masters of War by Bob Dylan
- For What Its Worth by Buffalo Springfield (protest rock)
- War by Edwin Starr (protest rock)
- Give Peace a Chance by John Lennon (protest rock)
- We Gotta Get Out of this Place by The Animals (protest rock)
- People, Let’s Stop the War by Grand Funk Railroad (protest rock)
- Dueling Banjos from Deliverance (instrumental)
- I Should Be Proud by Martha Reevers & the Vandellas (protest rock)
- Backlash Blues by Nina Simone (blues)
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
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
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.
On Those Who Serve & Sacrifice
Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history. — Mary Roach
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
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. — Winston Churchill
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. — G.K. Chesteron
A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. — Joseph Campbell
Your ordinary acts of love and hope point to the extraordinary promise
that every human life is of inestimable value. — Bishop Desmond Tutu
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived. — George S. Patton
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 Granholm
Work for what you believe in, but pick your battles, and don’t burn your bridges. Don’t be afraid to take charge, think about what you want, then do the work, but then enjoy what makes you happy, bring along your crew, have a sense of humor. — Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices. — Harry Truman
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
It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle. – General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.
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
How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! – Maya Angelou
I’m very conscious of the fact that you can’t do it alone. It’s teamwork. When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it. ― Wangari Maathai
My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. — John F Kennedy
A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. — Gandhi
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
One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world. ― Malala Yousafzai
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 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
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
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
We must pursue peaceful ends by peaceful means. I’m committed to nonviolence absolutely … I will continue to preach and teach it… I plan to stand by nonviolence. …(because) only a refusal to hate or kill can put an end to the chain of violence in the world and lead toward community where people live together without fear. — Martin Luther King
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
When you have a conflict, that means that there are truths that have to be addressed on each side of the conflict. And when you have a conflict, then it’s an educational process to try to resolve the conflict.
And to resolve that, you have to get people on both sides of the conflict involved so that they can dialogue. — Dolores Huerta
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
Violence and nonviolence agree that suffering can be a very powerful social force. But there is a difference. Violence says suffering can be a powerful social force by inflicting it on somebody else, so this is what we do in war… The nonviolent say that suffering becomes a powerful social force when you willingly accept the violence on yourself, so that self-suffering stands at the center of the nonviolent movement… There is no easy way to create a world where people can live together… but if such a world is created…it will be accomplished by persons who have the language to put an end to suffering by willingly suffering themselves rather than inflicting suffering on others… Unearned suffering is redemptive. — Martin Luther King
My Mind Stayed on Freedom — Spiritual adapted by Odetta Holmes (Well, I) woke up this mornin’ with my mind stayed on freedom … Oh well, I’m walkin’ and talkin’ walkin’ and talkin’ with my mind stayed on freedom … Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah.
Musings on Justice
Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. — Reinhold Niebuhr
Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst. — Aristotle
Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. — Haile Selassie
Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. — Frederick Douglass
Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both. — Eleanor Roosevelt
Election days come and go. But the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the one percent – a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice – that struggle continues. — Bernie Sanders
Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door. — Charles Dickens
Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do. — Wendell Berry
If you want peace work for justice. — Pope Paul VI
Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens. — Plato
In the real world, as lived and experienced by real people, the demand for human rights and dignity, the longing for liberty and justice and opportunity, the hatred of oppression and corruption and cruelty is reality. — John McCain
I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. — Albert Camus
Dreams of Freedom & Justice
I Am Waiting (excerpt) — Lawrence Ferlinghetti
… I am waiting for a rebirth of wonder and I am waiting for someone to really discover America and wail …
I Have a Dream … When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was the promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness … I have a dream today! … This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with … With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. And this will be the day … And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. — Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream (excerpt)
America — Allen Ginsberg
America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing … America this is quite serious. America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set. America is this correct? I’d better get right down to the job … America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.
America — Claude McKay
… I will confess I love this cultured hell that tests my youth. Her vigor flows like tides into my blood, Giving me strength erect against her hate, Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood …
… because my senses have caught up with my body
Burden — Judith McCombs
I am carrying
the bowl where she fed, bitter
herbs, salt, honey, the taste
of her life. I am carrying
the cloth where she lay, her
dark hair veining the white,
imprint & pain washed
away, the binding, the seams
I am carrying
what is left, her voice
in my ears, questions
not asked, her eyes at the end
jelling over & before that her dark
dreaming smile, her long
arms reaching for babies, her scarred
knees that I envied. Ashes &
shards after fire.
lifts in the bowl of the desert, takes
what is left. Moth
wings of ash flecking
the cold, shards
scattered on sand, filling
the tracks of the living
& dead, it is ended.
who thicken the earth, be fed
& not angry, be shelttered, be
safe where you wait & do not
come back to the remnants
you left, do not
come back with your love.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. — Martin Luther King Jr
He who is of calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition, youth and age are equally a burden. — Plato
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else. — Charles Dickens
The greatest development is achieved during the first years of life, and therefore it is then that the greatest care should be taken. If this is done, then the child does not become a burden; he will reveal himself as the greatest marvel of nature. — Maria Montessori
The weight of the world is love. Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction. — Allen Ginsberg
Humanity has the stars in its future and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. — Isaac Asimov
Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden. — Cory Ten Boom
No one knows the weight of another’s burden. — George Herbert
Grief can’t be shared. Everyone carries it alone. His own burden in his own way. — Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible. — Maya Angelou
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. — John F Kennedy
That Big, Old Rock. — Excerpt from recap of Anne Lamott lecture by Barbara Falconer Newhall
That Big, Old Rock. … we think we have this big old rock to lug around. We wake up in the morning, and there it is lying next to us in bed. We stumble into the kitchen for a morning espresso, the rock goes with us. We go to work, it’s on our desk. We go to bed, and there it is again lying between us and that other person. Or between us and the dog, depending.
What’s the rock? All that stuff we think we gotta do. The things we should have done. And, crap, the things we never should have done in the first place. It’s the mighty to-do list of things it’s up to us, and us alone, to fix.
There’s a lot to love about getting older, Anne told her audience … We care about less than we used to, she said. [At an earlier age] you think you have to keep a bunch of things up in the air at one time. You have to squeeze in one more task before you get home – fill the gas tank or stop off at the convenience store. … you still want people see how good you are. You put off going to the optometrist because you’re pretty sure he’ll find out your eyes have gotten worse, in which case he’ll think less of you.
… One day it dawns on you that you might not have fifty more years to live. For all you know, you have just one more day. …
“Stop the train. Drop the rock,” Anne advised. And remember, “Where your feet are is sacred space.”
Language of Hope
Reflecting on Psalm 23 — specifically through its verbs — there’s something for almost everyone. What speaks to you? — Rev. Gail
It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them. — George Eliot
Want (excerpt) by Gretchen Marquette
When I was twelve, I wanted a macaw
but they cost hundreds of dollars.
If we win the lottery? …
Yes, my mother said. If we win the lottery.
I was satisfied, so long as it wasn’t impossible …
A friend is someone who helps you up when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen. — Anonymous (proverb)
There is not a person alive who isn’t going to have some awfully bad days in their lives. I tell my players that what I mean by fighting is when … all the odds are against you. What are you going to do? Most people just lay down and quit. Well, I want my people to fight back. — Coach Paul Bryant
Look Out (excerpt) — Wendell Berry
Leave your windows and go out, people of the world,
go into the streets, go into the fields, go into the woods
and along the streams. Go together, go alone.
… saying yes to the air, to the earth, to the trees,
yes to the grasses, to the rivers, to the birds
and the animals and every living thing, yes
to the small houses, yes to the children. Yes.
To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, We did it ourselves! ― Lao Tzu
Black and White (excerpt)
― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun
I was born into a religion of Light,
But with so many other
Religions and Philosophies,
How do I know which ONE is right?
Is it not my birthright to seek out the light?
To find Truth after surveying all the proof,
Am I supposed to love or fight?
And why do all those who try to guide me,
Always start by dividing and multiplying me –
From what they consider wrong or right?
If Spirits Walk (excerpt) — Sophie Jewett
If spirits walk, Love, when the night climbs slow
The slant footpath where we were wont to go,
Be sure that I shall take the self-same way …
There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we … love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life. — John Lennon
Carrion Comfort (excerpt) — Gerard Manley Hopkins
Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can …
Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. ― Plato
I am the breeze that nurtures all things green. I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits. I am the rain coming from the dew that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life. — Hildegard of Bingen
I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. … There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me. — Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Carrion Comfort (excerpt) — Gerard Manley Hopkins
… I can; Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be. … my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.
We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation. ― Thomas Edison
All things are ready, if our mind be so. ― William Shakespeare, Henry V
ode to coffee
oda al café
(excerpt) — Urayoán Noel
… anoint the neural vessels we refill
al matorral neural en donde vive …
Killing Him (excerpt) — Yehuda Amichai
… The sound of warm running waters
Filling a white tub of foaming bubble bath
Spills happiness into the heart of the sorrowful listener.
Languidly stretching her body
She slowly, indulgently prepares to anoint herself in oils …
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. ― Jalaluddin Rumi
If you want to govern the people, You must place yourself below them. If you want to lead people, You must learn how to follow them. ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
I dwell in Possibility – (466) — Emily Dickinson
I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –
Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –
Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –