For many people living in the United States, Memorial Day officially launches the beginning of the summer season. Parties and BBQ’s are the norm around the country. I’d like to take a moment and reflect on the real meaning for Memorial Day – a day set aside to remember those service men and women who gave their lives to protect our country.

I was listening to NPR this morning and learned that after so many years, a memorial at Arlington Memorial Cemetery was finally approved. It’s been proposed to honor helicopter pilots and their crews who were listed as “missing in action” during the Vietnam War. Their helicopters crashed and their remains were never recovered. The extraordinary efforts that were needed to get this memorial approved is shameful. Fortunately by 2018, the family members of missing soldiers from the 1960’s and 1970’s will finally get the respect and recognition their loved ones deserve.

Today that safety is threatened around the country and around the world. Terrorists who seek to bring fear and terror into our neighborhoods will not be stopped by soldiers. Last Friday, in Portland Oregon, 3 men on a local MAX train tried to stop a man who was yelling racial slurs against 2 young women, one of whom was wearing a hjab. 2 men died from stabbing. One was a former soldier and one a recent college graduate. 2 lives lost in an instant because a mentally ill man hated Muslims. We need to make some personal decisions about how we want to deal with acts of aggression and violence in our communities.

I’d like to ask everyone today to make a cup of tea. Sit quietly while you enjoy your tea and think about the brave men and women who fought in our place so that we could live in peace.