You get the impression newspaper editors begin their staff meetings by asking what their constituents need to be worrying about today.
This Memorial Day, 2013, we have our choice of several juicy issues, any one of which can keep you up at night….
–The crumbling highway infrastructure. We’ve had three bridges knocked out in this country this week alone.
–The weather. Tornadoes destroyed much of Moore, Oklahoma a week ago, taking 24 lives in spite of the advance notice. We’re told that Oklahoma is the number one target for these monster storms.
–Terrorism. A British soldier was gunned down on the streets of London a few days ago. Nine suspects have been arrested, several of them apparently terrorists.
–The continuing assault on traditional morals and the definition of the family. The Scouts will accept gay kids into membership and more and more states are legalizing same sex marriage.
Okay, had enough?
If one enjoys worrying, he can always find good cause.
This Memorial Day, however, we may want to give attention to the decay of various memorial structures around the country for which adequate funds are not available to repair or replace.
–In Honolulu, the Waikiki Natatorium, “a salt water pool built in 1927 as a memorial to the 10,000 soldiers from Hawaii who served in World War I” is rusting and needs to be replaced or demolished. A full restoration could cost $70 million. The money is unavailable.
–In Greensboro, NC, the ancient “World War Memorial Stadium,” a quaint baseball structure erected in honor of the city’s WW I vets, and used in “Bull Durham” and other movies, is crumbling. The city has rejected two referendums to fund renovations, opting instead for a new stadium suitable for modern minor league games.
–In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a memorial building erected in 1924 to commemorate the sacrifices of World War I soldiers was demolished in 2010. The upkeep was horrendous and renovating it too costly. These days the lot where it stood is covered with grass.
“We will never forget.” How easily we say those words.
But we do.
We always forget. It’s the human condition.
Walk through any old cemetery and read the gravestones erected a century or more ago. Vows of eternal love, lasting remembrance, and undying gratitude are everywhere. But the generation that placed those markers followed the honorees into death. It’s life, if you will.
Someone who studies these things said this weekend that by the year 2036, there will be no survivors of the Second World War alive. Makes sense, since they would have to be past the century mark in age.
And, just as logically, eventually no one but the historians (and families who treasure their heritage) will “remember” this “greatest generation.”
The cemetery near my house advertises “perpetual care” for your loved ones interred in their ground or mausoleums.
They are promising what they cannot deliver.
A funeral director tells me that cemeteries are required to hold back only ten percent of the cost of mausoleums for their upkeep. If the slot in the wall costs, let’s say, five thousand dollars, a tenth of that would be five hundred. But what would that amount earn each year in interest? Five dollars? How much care will that provide?
Eventually, every mausoleum will crumble. Every monument will fall. Every memorial will reveal that its promise that “we will never forget” has been a lie all along.
Every hall of fame will become a relic. Every plaque on our walls meaningless.
Depressing? It is if we live for those things. But not if something nobler, higher, and more lasting motivates our days, occupies our minds, drives our deeds.
“Only one life, ’twill soon be past; Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Scripture promises that the heavens (this universe as we know it) and this earth shall pass away, but some things last forever.
Here’s a profitable way to spend an hour or two: Search out all the things Scripture promises are eternal. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of God stands forever” (Hebrews 40:8).
“Build your hopes on things eternal; Hold to God’s unchanging hand.”
That’s the best reminder of all on this Memorial Day. God bless you, friend.
Let’s get this thing right.
There are no do-overs in life.