The lonely weep of TAPS on a bugle. It stopped me dead in my tracks this morning. By the time I stepped outside my house, all that lingered in the morning air was the last mournful note.

This Memorial Day is unlike any I have ever known. It hits me on a different and deeper level, accentuated by the absence of our usual gathering in the community, the absence of the comfort of others, the absence of the shared tears and occasional lightness of laughter that helps bring us together at a core level that is often difficult to locate in trying times such as these.

I heard those notes filtered through the windows and walls of my house while I was making my morning coffee. My soul recognized its lonely cry long before my brain did. It’s the sad sound I’ve heard my whole life that humbles me and reminds me how grateful I am for those who sacrifice their lives at the will of others who don’t. It humbles me because I have not served and don’t know who I’d be today if I did or even IF I’d ‘be’. In its sorrowful tones, it tells me, “I’m no longer of this place, but you are. Honor my sacrifice by being the the most decent, honorable, selfless person you can be. Remember that you are always in the presence of God and are closer to (meeting) him than you might imagine.”

I stepped outside to catch that last note lingering in the air. I softly sang our National Anthem. And then I spoke aloud the words of our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance. These are all things I normally do on this day each year, only this time I did it alone and with greater reverence. This absolute silence, this distancing from one another to protect one another, to me is the perfect way to reflect on where we are right now, WHO we are right now.

Everything is different this year because of a virus that has taken the world by surprise. It is something that should humble us all, but for many, it has done the opposite.

Today, we are challenged to honor the sacrifices our servicemen and servicewomen have made for us by losing their lives for us.  Some will take the time today. Many will not. That also is what makes the sound of TAPS so profoundly sad to me on this Memorial Day 2020.

May God bless us all. May all who have died in service of this country and all countries in the world rest in peace.

Amen.

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