I listened to this incredible song several times today. It’s called Remembering and it was written by my friend David Vassilaros to honor our fallen heroes.
When I first heard this song, it brought back all the emotions that swirled the first time I touched the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. It recalled the ineffable sense of awe and reverence you feel standing amidst the sacred silence of the hallowed ground that Lincoln consecrated at Gettysburg.
Dave’s song sums up what Memorial Day is all about. It’s about remembering. We set aside this day to honor those who serve and remember the extraordinary sacrifices they made and continue to make to preserve our freedoms.
One of the central themes of the novelist Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis’ friend and member of the Inklings, is the idea of exchange and substitution. Disqualified from serving in World War I, Williams came to the realization that the peace and tranquility he enjoyed in England was owed to the sacrifice of nearly a million of his fellow countrymen dying in the trenches across the English Channel, and that this was a debt he could never repay. For Williams, the idea of exchange and substitution was not only true during wartime, but was at the heart of life. Everything we have, everything we enjoy in this life, comes from the sacrifice of another, from the grains of wheat that fall into the ground and die to give us our daily bread, to the pigs we slaughter for our breakfast slices of bacon, culminating in the ultimate sacrifice at the place of skulls to win us eternal life.
So too, the blessings of liberty, security and prosperity we enjoy in a world of chaotic terrorism, crushing tyranny and ubiquitious suffering were dearly purchased by the substitution and sacrifice of heroes at places like Valley Forge, Antietam, Omaha Beach, Khe Sanh and Fallujah. We can never repay our indebtedness to our fallen heroes, but we can honor and remember their sacrifice on this Memorial Day.
It’s worth remembering.