Happy Holiday???

What are your plans for the week-end?

Monday is Memorial Day. The beginning of summer. An extra day off. Swimming pools open. All week, weather forecasters have spoken in terms of picnics and camp-outs.

Our son is in from out of town, and we’re kicking the weekend off by having friends and neighbors over this evening for a backyard concert.

But wait a minute … is something missing here?

Memorial Day is a federal holiday commemorating men and women who died in military service. Its roots go back to just after the Civil War, although widespread recognition wasn’t common until after World War II.

Did you know that a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m.? Or that you should fly the U.S. Flag at half staff until noon?

What have we lost?

Steve McCallion labels it the “gap between the promise and experience of Brand America.” He blames our obsession with convenience and consumption.

This past week we reached a milestone in Afghanistan: 1,000 U.S. military deaths. More than four times that many in Iraq.

Memorial Day isn’t about faded memories of long-ago heroes. We have men and women fighting for us today. Dying for us, too.

I am thankful to have the opportunity to gather with friends and family this evening. I deeply value the time with my son, and appreciate the opportunity to celebrate his presence.

At the same time … and in that same spirit of love and gratitude… my heart goes out to the fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters of the men and women who will not be a part of the family this weekend.

I will lift them up in my thoughts at 3:00 p.m. Monday.

I hope you’ll join me as well.