May these thoughts help make Memorial Day 2011 even more memorable, and an even deeper, reverent experience for you.
Religious leaders with very different backgrounds addressed courage, a part of what makes Memorial Day special, in very similar works spoken in different languages, on different continents, under different circumstances, to different civilizations. They are worth reading:
Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened. -- Rev. Billy Graham, Christian, USA.
Four things support the world: the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the good, and the valor of the brave. -- Muhammed, Prophet of Islam.
One political leader captured all of the sentiment of Memorial Day in a few sentences to a grieving mother, in a letter called by many, the single best piece ever written in the English language. It cannot be read without feeling the urge of a tear to drop, and the size of the heart to swell with pride:
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.
I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But, I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.
I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,