Gratitude on Memorial Day

“Patriotism is merely a religion – love of country, worship of country, devotion to the country’s flag, honor and welfare.”
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twin)


A grateful thank you to all men and women who have served our country in times of war and peace is due every single day, not just on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. We must also extend gratitude to those who waited at home for their loved ones to return, hopefully the same strong young men and women who left to defend their country or protect another country’s right to exist. Honor all those who have answered their nation’s call, in whatever way that they could: Victory Gardens, assisting their neighbors, prayers for safety.

At the same time I yearn for the day we no longer hear those calls. Are we humans capable of living in peace? I think of songs we sing in church and contemplate their confusing messages: “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “I Ain’t Going to Study War No More.”

All religions teach peace. Often we greet each other by bowing and saying “Namaste,” or “The sacred in me greets the sacred in you.” Even shaking hands indicates that our hands hold no weapons. These behaviors are ingrained into our daily lives, yet we forget or disregard the meaning behind them. Is this dichotomy the reason so many of our returning veterans are committing suicide? We send them to war. The next day they are at home and expected to act like the horror never happened. We can’t forget violence in 24 hours.


Mixed messages about peace and war assault us on all sides. On one hand we talk about war to impose peace. On the other we see the damage war has caused to the minds and hearts of all involved. Our holy books teach us peace. We ask that you implant a stronger desire for peace than we have for dissention.
And, so it is.

If you know someone who would appreciate reading “Thoughts to Ponder,” please suggest that he or she contact me at:

Sharon D. Dillon,,
Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists
Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at

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3 thoughts on “Gratitude on Memorial Day

  1. Sharon,
    I’m skeptical of the word ‘exceptionalism’ and those who use it. If they mean that United States are the new chosen people, whether by a god or Nature, that history has a destiny that we have deduced and understand, and that we citizens play a special roll in this evolution of manifest destiny, then I think recent and a generous part of our history proves them off beam. I would argue that the decimation of the American Indian, slavery that turned into Jim Crow, Vietnam, and in the 13 years of undeclared war, over 3 trillion dollars spent, over 6000 soldiers killed and 42 thousand wounded, over 200 thousand killed in collateral damage, a school system that ranks 17th in the world though we spend more per student, not to mention our medical system…I would say that indeed we are exceptional. dave

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