Memorial Day 2015

This Monday, May 25, is Memorial Day in the United States. What started as a day to honor Union Troops from the American Civil War expanded to honor all troops who have fallen in defense of freedom. Since freedom of religion is one of the freedoms that makes it easier for us to get on with our faith, we should participate in this too.

It is true that many of the ceremonies you see will make reference to Christian religion. It is also true that many of the soldiers viewed were Christian. However, it is also true that the fallen have since learned the truth once they reached the other side. You cannot blame the soldiers for not knowing better. They are still worth your respect. Note that I'm speaking in general; there will always be the few that do things that lose respectability.
This is also a good time to think of those who defended our freedoms in earlier times. During the Saxon Wars, the Frankish Christians tried to impose their faith on the Saxons in northwestern Europe. Heroes such as Widukind led a valiant effort to hold them off. In the end, Widukind sacrificed himself to save his people. There are many such people in our past that have earned our respect and a place in Odin's Hall. All hail the fallen heroes and heroines!
Something else to consider is what makes these people worthy of our respect. There are aspects of life that are unpleasant. How people handle the unpleasantness depends on many factors, including the will of the person. When soldiers go to fight an enemy, they must overcome the instinct for self-preservation and put themselves in harm's way. That requires will and they do this to protect the ones who cannot otherwise protect themselves.
Take a moment and think about how you can help those around you who cannot help themselves. Does it require sacrifice? Can you distinguish when it will do some good and when it won't? How can you strengthen yourself to be in a better position to help? What can you learn from the heroes of the past?
Take some time this Monday and thank the ones who have sacrificed before. Contemplate why they would do the things they did and how you can apply those lessons to your own life. Also, since they would have been converted to Asatru when they passed to the other side, welcome them to the religion.