Today is Armed Forces Day. I know about Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans’ Day. I didn’t know a lot about Armed Forces Day, but I’ve always known you can’t be either a Saint or a Patriot and not celebrate those who give us our freedom and serve in ways most of us could not begin to imagine. I decided to look into Armed Forces Day a bit. Here is just some of what I learned.
Armed Forces Day was begun in 1950 by President Harry S. Truman as a way to unite Army, Navy, and Air Force Days and to educate the American public about what these heroes do.
As I researched, I was reminded that May is Military Appreciation Month. In the far recesses of my mind, I kind of knew that but I don’t think about it much. I can’t remember the last time I heard of May being referred to as Military Appreciation Month.
While Military Appreciation Month rings a distant bell, there was much I learned that I never heard of. For example, I did not know Military Appreciation month kicks off with Loyalty Day on May 1st or that Military Spouse’s Day is celebrated the Friday before Mother’s Day. It certainly seems these family members also deserve a day of their own.
I did not know that Memorial Day is not a stand alone holiday. Instead, it is meant to be the culmination of an entire month of our expressed gratitude for selfless service. It is the day in which we officially give the upmost respect, honor, gratitude, and prayer to those who made the Ultimate Sacrifice, not so we could have an easy life, but so that we can stand strong for freedom and choose to have a good one.
One of my students once asked why PRIDE gets a month of celebration but our Military gets only scattered days here and there.
I’m sad now that I did not tell her the truth because I, who feel like I’m pretty on top of things and am so grateful for our Military, was totally ignorant of the truth.
The truth is our Military does get an entire month to be honored. We just are not taught this anymore either in our schools, our churches, or our homes. We cannot teach what we don’t know, but once we know, we have no excuse.
Our world has not gotten better since we’ve pushed aside Loyalty Day, Military Spouse’s Day, and Armed Forces Day. It hasn’t gotten better since we stopped remembering to be grateful and show our appreciation at least one full month of the year.
It makes me wonder what other good exists in our history that we don’t know about and should be grateful for?
We tend to assume that in Heaven we will receive answers about why bad things happen. We think after death we will see the upside of the great tapestry of life and understand our place in the design.
I don’t disagree, but I think God will heal those scars either on Earth or in Purgatory and they will be less important to us in Heaven. By letting go and living God’s desire of Mercy, forgiveness, and submission, we already begin to see good come from bad. This letting go makes the why less cloudy. In Heaven, we will be the value of the answers to our suffering will be simply in how they were used to take us to the Cross.
I believe we will need answers to our suffering less in Heaven but will rather be overwhelmed by God’s Glory and the celebration of so many goodnesses we missed and failed to be grateful for while on Earth! How shameful we’d feel at overlooking such Blessings if it weren’t for the Lord’s Grace and Love showing us these things. We’d be horrified if He displayed His superiority over us with pride rather than as a Loving Father delighting in our discoveries in much the same way we delight in children blowing bubbles on a sunny day, catching fireflies in the backyard, or jumping in puddles after a storm. I believe God will show us so much good we missed in much the same way.
And yes, the goodness of the men and women of the United States Military and the celebrations our country put in place to honor them is part of the goodness we too often overlook. We must learn our history, all of it. We must understand the bad so we do not repeat it and to understand the mindset of the time and appreciate the sacrifice it took to get here. We must also celebrate the good, and overall, our Military is made up of some of the best of God’s children.
Today on Armed Forces Day, we celebrate all branches of our Military and reserves, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.
I will take time to thank God for the men and women who serve(d) and their parents, siblings, spouses, and children.
I cannot go back and change past ignorance, but I am fully responsible for how I now move ahead.
And I already know I can’t wait to celebrate Loyalty Day next year! I don’t know exactly what that is yet, but you know I’ll find out and go all in for America!
In the meantime, there are no words to express how I thankful I am for all who protect and defend our nation and for their families too. You are appreciated. You are Loved. We are still a grateful nation.
Gratitude Journal- May 20, 2023
Thank You Lord for…
- Getting one section of the garden done.
- Handling conflict well.
- Not sending the original text.
- Working it out.
- Saint Ignatius and the word “presupposition.”
- Hope that someday people, especially my loved ones, will Presuppose God wants good for them rather than the other way around
- Good. Clean. Fun.
- Having my priorities straight.
- A movie with Cody.
- R coming here after work.
- The Eucharist.