A Muslim’s Reflections on Memorial Day
Since 2010, I have been observing the Memorial Day every year by visiting the cemeteries and praying for the ones who have given their lives to defend our freedom. I am pleased to share my thoughts, hoping you would find it to be a meaningful day for you. What will I do, and what can you do is as follows.
Please do not wish a “Happy Memorial Day” on this day; it is not a celebration to be happy about, it is instead an observance to commemorate and ponder. We observe the Memorial Day on the last Monday of May every year; remembering and honoring the men and women who died while protecting and serving our country.
Why does it matter to you? The freedoms that you and I cherish or take it for granted did not come to us on a platter and was not a given thing either, and it was earned for us through the sacrifice of men and women who fought for it. It is a particularly important day for all the immigrants who enjoy full civil rights and equal opportunity in America.
The tradition of Memorial Day observance began after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the civil war. Indeed, it was the civil war that abolished slavery which was the stepping stone for passing the Civil rights Act of 1964 and the very cause for the immigrants to make it to America.
Memorial Day 2017 – http://centerforpluralism.com/memorial-day-2017/
Memorial Day 2016 – http://centerforpluralism.com/muslims-honor-veterans-memorial-day/
Memorial Day 2010 – http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/06/memorial-day-reflections.html
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and reflection, and it is time to pray for those have passed away, whether they are related to us or not and whether they have served in the military, police, and fire or not. Please take a few moments to remember all those who have influenced, affected and cared for us, and those who cared for others whether we know them or not. It is not necessarily a noble thing or a religious thing, and it is the right thing to do. Indeed, it is the thing that enriches our souls and brings humility and connects us back with ourselves.
On the Memorial Day in 2010, I drove from Louisville to Dallas, an 840 miles journey and stopped at every cemetery that was visible on the roadside. My short prayer was asking the creator to restore the balance on the earth through forgiveness to those who have sinned and bring completeness to those who left incomplete transactions in life. I particularly remember stopping at four national cemeteries, and there was one near Nashville on I-40 for the veterans, which was off the road, and I drove through a creek to get there and paid my homage to the men and women who died for my country’s freedom. It just feels good to be a part of the whole.
What is the point in doing all this? It is a moment to connect with ourselves and know you. We are on the run every day chasing the next moment, and there is no time for ourselves. We give time to strangers, friends, and others, and it is a good idea to provide some time for ourselves.
The best thing you can do for yourselves is it to take ‘an hour’ away from everything and everyone, and reflect on your life. There is nothing more peaceful than knowing you.
There is a beautiful Islamic supplication that asks God to forgive the ones who are alive and the ones, who are dead, and the parents, family, friends, believers, and strangers. It runs something like this, “Dear God, forgive me and my parents and my teachers and all the believing men and women, the living and the dead with your mercy. Amen.” Thank God for this inclusive, pluralistic prayer seeking goodness for all the living and the dead.
It is time to pause and reflect on life and express gratitude to those who helped shape you. In my case, I will take out some time to reflect on my Mother, Father, Maternal Grandfather, Dadski (father figure), and my late wife, one of my two favorite uncles. I would also reflect on the relatives I was close with, the teachers who were kind to me, and the strangers who were helpful to me, and friends who have passed away and several others.
I will pull over on the roadside at every cemetery I spot on a memorial day and silently pray for them. Praying for the unknown connects you with the unselfish-self in you, giving a sense of joy that is hard to explain. Try it and see how good you feel about yourselves – visit a cemetery, eventually we all have to go there.
I am writing this every year as a reminder, several of my friends have called and written that they also made the trip and it felt right for them.
Let’s wish (pray). Dear God, we thank you for the life and the freedom you have given us, and we appreciate all those who have sacrificed their lives to have this freedom to stand freely and pray here today, I salute our men and women in the uniforms for protecting and defending our freedom. Amen.
God bless America.