A few years ago, I visited Washington D.C. during Memorial Day weekend. Thousands of motorcycles with veteran riders roared through the streets in parade formation. The annual Memorial Day weekend event honors military veterans and members of the military missing in action.
These veterans held out their hands so bystanders could reach out and touch them. When I slapped my first biker’s hand and made contact, I thanked him for his service. In that split second of contact, I saw tears on his face, and I had tears on mine. I understood how important it is to honor vets, especially those who have died while serving their country.
I was totally overwhelmed with my emotions. My day ended with the National Memorial Day Concert on the capitol lawn where hundreds of thousands of people gathered to hear stories of veterans and listen to patriotic music.
I know that what I experienced that day was as close to a secular “religious experience” as I’ll ever get. I treasure my memories but mostly, I’ll continue to thank the vets!
This message is excerpted from “Honoring military veterans an emotional experience” by Diane Frederick from the May 29, 2017, blog of the Women of the ELCA. Today is Memorial Day. Today we commemorate Jiri Tranovsky, hymnwriter, 1637.
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