In an incredible act of Providence, Memorial Day this year rests on the feast day of St. Joan of Arc, one of several patron saints of soldiers. The others, incidentally, are St. George (of dragon fame), St. Michael the Archangel, St. Hadrian, and St. Ignatius de Loyola, S.J. (whoop!).
On this day to remember veterans and the sacrifices that they have made for our country, I have been thinking hard about what to write here today. I knew that I had to write something, but I didn't know what it should be. Then there came a point when I realized that my words were inadequate. I can speak of God, morality, metaphysics, and the like with only moderate difficulty at best, but now, I am silent. So I began to think of what I should put up in the veteran's honor.
I thought about putting up the text to a song that I love, called "The Patriotic Chourus". The reason for that was a part of the refrain that goes "And victorious in war shall be made glorious in peace." I thought about putting up a soldier's prayer, but couldn't find one that suited the occasion. Then it occured to me to draw from Scripture. The Psalms seemed the most natural thing to use. At first I thought about using Psalm 90, with its "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee", but once more it didn't quite resonate. Finally, I settled for Pslam 45. I remember that in the movie "Zulu", it was described as a Psalm "written especially for the soldier", and looking over it, it becomes quite apparent why. Therefore, in honor of those who have fought, and most especially those who have died, I present to you the 45th Psalm.
Unto the end, for the sons of Core, for the hidden. Our God is our refuge and strength: a helper in troubles, which have found us exceedingly. Therefore we will not fear, when the earth shall be troubled; and the mountains shall be removed into the heart of the sea. Their waters roared and were troubled: the mountains were troubled with his strength. The stream of the river maketh the city of God joyful: the most High hath sanctified his own tabernacle.
God is in the midst thereof, it shall not be moved: God will help it in the morning early. Nations were troubled, and kingdoms were bowed down: he uttered his voice, the earth trembled. The Lord of armies is with us: the God of Jacob is our protector. Come and behold ye the works of the Lord: what wonders he hath done upon earth, Making wars to cease even to the end of the earth. He shall destroy the bow, and break the weapons: and the shield he shall burn in the fire.
Be still and see that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of armies is with us: the God of Jacob is our protector.
"The single best augury is to fight for one's country."
-Homer, The Illiad
Correction: At the begginning of this post, I erroneously mentioned that today was the feast of St. Joan of Arc. As I tend to do sometimes, I accidentally got my dates mixed up. Today is the day that, in 1431, Joan was burned at the stake. May 8th is her feast day.
"Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends." -John 15:13