On this Memorial Day, the meaning of Mayday becomes so clear. Mayday is an international distress signal, used when there is danger of loss of life or other imminent disaster. It is a call for help. Today it seems particularly poignant as we reflect upon those who gave their lives in service to our country.
"Mayday! Danger! Please help!"
Can you imagine the many cries throughout history as those who were under attack or threatened with certain death sent the signal out? I understand that as the Arizona went down, the signal was sent out for hours and hours before it was finally heard...too late for so many. I imagine the same alarm was sounded as hundreds of other ships, planes and footsoldiers were blown to smithereens. I imagine it was heard in anquish on the Russian front druing WWII, at Gettysburg, the Halls of Montezuma, the Shores of Tripoli, Pearl Harbor, Korea, VIet Nam, Iraq, Afganistan, and at the World Trade Center on 9/11. And so many other places where lives were threatened, where lives were eventually lost. Mayday! Mayday!
Today is a time to reflect and to honor those whose lives were lost in battle or as "collateral damage." For each, the meaning of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will forever give pause to whomever pays them homage. Today we are called to remember there is no freedom without sacrifice. And to that I say with hands folded and head bowed, amen.