Reunions, No Onions, A Somber Memorial Day – Trip Report

When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”
So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down.  Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.

  • Joshua 4:1-9

For all those wondering, my wife and I have been reunited.  I went to Tennessee and brought her back to Pennsylvania.  She desperately needs to see each of her doctors, having skipped appointments with all of them while in Tennessee, babysitting.

As for the babysitting, others would call it spoiling.  Our five-year-old cutie knows that he is cute.  He also sees his older brother (11, going to 7th grade) and his older sister (7, going to 3rd grade) doing things that he knows that he can do, but he is not allowed to do.  He has no concept of “may” versus “can,” and he wants to prove that he “can” so that they will remove the “must not” label.  Thus, every day that I was there, he spent most of each day soothing a warmed bottom or in time out – with him constantly screaming at his parents that he did nothing or at least nothing wrong.  Sure, he played the video game like an expert – thus doing nothing wrong.  He just wasn’t allowed to do so.  He is going to kindergarten in August, if schools are back in session.  Pray for his teacher.  Then again, his Sunday school teacher has never complained.  He may be totally different in a classroom setting.

In this COVID-19 lockdown, we have not had proms, graduation ceremonies, and other such once-in-a-lifetime events.  I guess you can add 50th high school reunions to the list.  Mine is scheduled for a few days from now, but I returned to Pennsylvania.  I am too tired, and too short on cash to make the trip again this week, but I doubt if the reunion will happen.  They are easing restrictions, but these restrictions are easing in a phased approach.  We cannot get from the 25% restaurant capacity, with no more than 10 people in a group, to a 100% capacity with maybe 50-70 people in a group in a week’s time, but the organizers have stated that they won’t reschedule until the last minute.  I hope the organizers realize that ‘last minute’ does not work for those that are nearly 900 miles away.

Yet, I write this blog, at least most of the posts, to share the message that “Jesus Saves.”  I came to know Jesus, in part, because when I reunited with my graduating class friends in my junior year, they had Joy in their hearts, and I knew that I did not.  It wasn’t fear of going to Hell that drew me to Jesus.  It was Love, Joy, and Peace that drew me close to Him, until it was overpowering and I fell into His arms.  Yes, my high school friends have their flaws, but I cherish those memories and I pray for them.  If any of them are reading this, I would like to provide my sentiments with a song written by Albert E. Brumley, If We Never Meet Again.  The Booth Brothers sing the song in this recording, part of a Gaither Homecoming recording.

Getting back to the title, the “no onions” part is that as part of the trip, I had to eat out.  Wheat is definitely a no-no, but if I slipped up and had a little onion, maybe a little onion powder in the preparation of the food, I suffered, but not bad.  I loved the special treat that our son provided.  We went to an eastern Mediterranean restaurant, where they brought the meats out on swords, sliding it onto your plate, and kept it coming until you were stuffed.  The trick was to save room for the grilled pineapple that they served for dessert.  Expensive, but a grand treat.  It reminded me, in serving style, of the family-style Chinese barbeque.  In China, they slice it from the skewer onto your plate.

As for the Somber Memorial Day, I wish that I could correct American’s thinking, but we keep going further from God.  With our rebellious ways, we lose the meaning of certain memorials.  Memorial Day was started, in various cities and states, in remembrance of those who did not survive the “Civil War.”  They would decorate the graves, often calling it Decoration Day.  I use the words for the war in quotes for a couple of reasons.  The South seceded, and those who recognize that know it as a war between sovereign nations.  But also, no war is civil.

When Memorial Day became a national holiday, it was changed to commemorate that freedom comes at a price.  We remember those who died, not the veterans who returned.  So, you can forget your memorial to Elvis and other celebrities who served in the military, and Ted Williams and other athletes who served.  Save that for Armed Forces Day or Veterans Day.  Because in wartime, some soldiers return home in a body bag or coffin, some do not return – listed as missing in action – with no closure for the family, and some return, an empty shell of what once was a vibrant human being.

I used to watch war movies all weekend.  When my wife insisted on reducing our cable television cost to basic cable, I lost all the channels that had war movies.  I still watch a few on DVD, but for the past two years I have seen a Vietnam documentary, We Call Them Heroes.  The link for the trailer follows.  The documentary did interviews with soldiers of greatly varying ranks.  They interviewed a few wives, who gave before-after experiences.  The documentary talked about how they were vilified as baby-killers upon their return.  I never went to Vietnam, but I was in my ROTC uniform, in my hometown, during the Vietnam War.  A woman saw me, not knowing the difference in the uniforms.  I was spat upon and called a baby-killer.  One of the soldiers said that Americans tried to correct their mistake, but it was too syrupy, too sweet, and too late to call them heroes, years later.

But the thing that gets me each time I see the documentary is the last question that is asked.  “When you go to the Wall, which name do you go there to see first?”  They all cry.  They weep.  Most stumble through trying to say the name through their tears, hardly audible.  Then they talk about the beautiful life that was taken too early, about a man who would never have grandchildren to play with or wouldn’t be there to play with them if he already had children.  One remembered soldier was a man who constantly read his Bible and didn’t participate in the debauchery that went on around him.  He was wounded and the man who remembered him was his sergeant.  They were pinned down, and for four hours, he watched the man bleed to death, unable to reach him, to save him.  But, I think the man may have been saved already.

How can we wish someone “Happy Memorial Day????”  Are we so callous that we laugh and say, “I survived my time in the service and you did not!!  Ha, Ha.”  Only someone without a soul could think that.  If you know, really know, why we celebrate Memorial Day, we can celebrate a life, full of life before, but never more.  Yet, we celebrate with somber tears of what could have been.  I hope your Memorial Day had at least one somber moment, a wake-up-call to remind us that people have died so that we might be free.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.


Add yours →

  1. May 27, 2020 — 9:13 am

    So glad you and your wife are reunited. I’m sure she’s looking forward to being on a normal routine as well. I so agree with you on the misuse of Memorial Day. It seems just another day to sell cars and television sets. To worship anything material and not look at the cost of freedom. I did watch the movie channel this weekend. I don’t usually intentionally tune into war movies, but this year it seemed appropriate. Sand Pebbles, 20 seconds over Tokyo, Bridge on the River Kwai, the Dirty Dozen. It rained for most of the weekend here and television has become my current friend. The cost of war is always grim. We need to acknowledge our military heroes, no matter what war they fought in. They chose to defend their country. They were willing to die for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good to hear you all got home safe and sound! I know the adjustments will be a tad challenging for a few days — I cried like a baby Friday when ours departed but I’m headed up tomorrow as our daughter-n-law must physically go to school for a few days.
    As for the Memorial Day / decoration day — I’ve got a post in the works regarding the Civil War—
    There’s much I’d like to chat about with you Mark but no time today or the rest of the week— hopefully next week will calm down!
    Just glad ya’ll got home!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the adjustments have begun, and many less pleasant than anticipated. My wife is also missing the little ones, but the only one in Tennessee that is missing my wife, or so it seems, is the dog – sat on the sofa where my wife slept and refused to leave.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, also have you been watching the series on Grant on the history channel- one of their better jobs

    Liked by 1 person

    • We get very few channels on television, but it might be on HULU. What’s the title?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Grant.
        I wasn’t going to watch it as I don’t like anything to do with the Civil was as I find it so tragic for all sorts of reasons— that whole a house divided business but like I say- a post will come soon with some revelations.

        Liked by 1 person

      • As a president, good and bad, Grant accomplished things, for a while. As an Army officer, he was difficult to work with, always drunk, but he was a bulldog, never giving up until he completed his objective. The series might be interesting. Thank you for the suggestion.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s better than I thought— they use the word bulldog regarding his tenacity and touch in the drinking— it’s by Leonardo DiCaprio with petraus and other military scholars and historians giving commentary— as a southerner I had how were always poorly depicted but not too badly here

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Man what a question about going to the wall who do you look up…
    I had a professor in college, she was a hippy during that time and she actually said Veteran’s weren’t called baby killers during that time. I thought it was outrageous a history teacher can make such a universal negative claim, of millions of vets. YOur story confirmed to me that vets probably were called baby killers during those era…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a first hand experience in Mississippi and it was said to be worse on the West Coast as most people arrived there first. The history books have photos with signs saying baby killer. Maybe your professor was one of those carrying a sign and wanted to forget about it through denial.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah my professor I suspect was dishonest. The school hired her I think partly because of her leadership with the anti war movement to teach the 60s history class. I think she’s dishonest

        Liked by 1 person

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