“The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.” If you remember your high school Shakespeare studies, you know that Marc Anthony was talking about Caesar when he made that statement, an oration meant to change the people’s attitude toward Caesar.
I don’t often disagree with Shakespeare, but in this case I have to disagree, at least with Marc Anthony. Part of the reason is that this Memorial Day I have just returned from a very moving ceremony which included a Marine Color Guard, a 21-gun salute, bagpipers playing Amazing Grace, the most beautiful performance of the National Anthem I have ever heard, and an outstanding retired Air Force speaker.
During that ceremony, it was obvious that the good people do lives after them as we were reminded in many ways that our freedom and way of life depends on the actions of people who died or suffered or just fought for our country. I think soldiers, including those currently serving, have to believe that what they do will have a positive influence on their country and the people of both the present and the future.
From the ceremony I went to decorate the graves of my parents and my great grandparents and grandparents, and my thoughts along that line continued. All of these people made mistakes, of course, but what lives on is the good they gave to the world and to many people including me. I would not have life without them, but I also would not have so much more – my love of everything from education to music to the mountains and more important, my Christian faith.
The bad things and bad times in my life have not defeated me because of the faith that they shared, encouraged, and exemplified. Jesus’ love and words were part of my life from birth and baptism through all of my growing years into adulthood and to the present, thanks to men and women who instilled and nurtured faith. This Memorial Day I brought them lilacs and honeysuckle, but more than that I brought them undying gratitude, knowing that the good they did lives after them and the Savior they loved gives us all the way to see each other again.
I just want to continue to share ideas about grief and life with people who long as I do for comfort and understanding.