This is the day of Malchut within Yesod, nobility within connection. On this day, I think about how our lives are made noble in the ways we connect with others, both those who are immediately present in our lives and those who are removed from us by distance and by death.
Today's holiday used to be called Decoration Day, a reference to the flags and flowers that would decorate the stones in military cemeteries. I like "Memorial Day" better. We still have the parades and the wreaths on the graves, but this name puts the emphasis where it belongs – not on the outward display, but on the internal experience of remembering and consecrating the lives of people who have given their all in service to our country. We remember the person, not just the flag, the uniforms and the displays.
The moments that mean the most to me on Memorial Day are the ones in which people tell the real stories of the men and women who have died. Here is one such story, about Lance Cpl. James Boelk, a Marine who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. His family describes him as a practical joker and a guy who "loved to make the girls scream." He also was a soldier who was killed by a roadside bomb in
When we take the time to remember people – not as statistics or as idealized heroes, but as real people with real lives – we find the true nobility in their lives and in our own. This is a day for remembering human beings, not wartime policies and strategies, not flowers and bunting. It is a time to connect with the humanity that connects us all to each other and to remember that we discover our own highest selves in that connection.
On this 42nd Day of the Counting of the Omer, I commit to honoring and truly remembering those who have served and those whose lives have made my life possible. May this be a day in which you find blessing in the relationships and personal connections that bring dignity, honor and nobility to your life.
For the introduction to the Counting of the Omer, click on this link:
The First Day of the Counting of the Omer