Good morning, I’m glad to be here and I’m glad that you are here also, for today continues something of a tradition that originated during the Civil War.
I pray to God that the words of my lips and the thoughts from my heart are acceptible to thee O’ Lord. This address of mine is not intended as an Invocation, asking God to do something. It is rather a Homily to suggest to you a God-like thing each of us might do.
Now, there is an ambivalence about our coming here today. We gather on this designated day and in this place to mourn the dead; and simultaneously we celebrate their lives. Yes, here and now we both mourn and we celebrate. On other designated days. we often gather divided and then we depart still divided as on some town meetings, election days, sports contests and even sometimes after a sermon in church that strikes a discordant note, but today, I believe we can all be of one mind. For those who come here to mourn, there is plenty to mourn about, lives cut short, lovers separated, children orphaned, tragic accidents, diseases, fires, lost at sea, killed in a war. And for those who come here to celebrate, there is plenty to celebrate. We honor genuine public servants, judges, soldiers and sailors who offered and sometimes gave up their very lives. They volunteered their service to defend our liberties. Also we celebrate firefighters, authors, poets, police, ambulance, nurses, doctors, athletic coaches, clergy, artists, and teachers buried here who helped us find beauty and purpose in life. And as an afterthough please don’t forget fire department chaplains!
They are all here, or on their way, with name and date and perhaps some inscription to inspire the passerby.
In the baker’s dozen cemeteries of Old Lyme, over the course of more than 300 years, are the remains of towns-people. People we read about, heard about, knew about, knew personally, loved, honored, admired, revered, esteemed. They are here, ever reminding us that they’ve lived here, and that they contributed something to make our nation, our culture and our Town something special. Something upon which we can build. Something for which we can be proud.
I’m glad to have been part of that something. I’m grateful for those who paved the way. I hope that those of you, younger that I, can find joy and inspiration from memories stirred up by this Memorial Day. So, enjoy this designated day, the parade, the hot dogs, the music, the ceremony. And what might you do? Continue the tradition, keep coming back and do remember that you, each and every one of you here, are actually the most important part of what’s going on. So ends my homily.