Memorial Day is a day to remember all those who have made sacrifices for this country. I remember my uncle who gave his life in the service of country. I remember family members who have served in World War I, II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Iraq. All have made great sacrifices for their country. Those sacrifices were made for a variety of reasons and I honor those reasons and those who gave so much. I also remember a very special friend who is currently in Iraq (for his second tour) and I remember those others that I know - and I pray for them daily.
On Memorial Day the President of the United States standing before the Tomb of the Unknowns, stated that the nation can best honor the dead by "defeating terrorists....and laying the foundation for a generation of peace."
How does war bring peace? How does more killing honor the lives of those who have died? The world has been at war throughout history. No war has brought definitive peace to any generation much less the next generation. What chance has this war to bring peace more than any other war of history?
Maybe the best way to honor the sacrifice of those who have lost their lives in war is to find a better way to bring peace - a peace that will last - a peace that will be meaningful for generations to come; a solution that will replace killing.
On the eve of the Iraq invasion, Natalie Maines, lead singer for the Dixie Chicks, told a London audience that the Chicks were ashamed that President Bush was from their home State of Texas. The Chicks spoke out against the invasion of Iraq. Their fans and the country music industry responded like fans have the right to do - they reacted by not buying the Dixie Chicks CDs or playing their music on the radio. Some fans, however, decided to do what they do not have the right to do and that was to threaten the lives of these three young women.
The Dixie Chicks risked their careers for saying what they believe. Their risk was great. It cost them a huge fan base. Just last week they released their new CD with the anapologetic song Not Ready to Make Nice. The first CD since 2003. In the first week of play country fans have again responded with rejection which further questions their future careers.
It's one thing to speak out against the war when you know those who listen will agree with you like Bruce Springsteen or Neil Young; it's quite another to have the courage to risk your career when you know for sure your fans don't agree.
I wonder if that's why our churches are not speaking out against the war, this war or any war? Is the church afraid that it fans, those in the pews who pay the preachers salary, will stop buying what the church is selling if they speak the word of peace and pacifism?
It is impossible to justify war using the words of Jesus Christ. To be a follower of Jesus Christ is to promote peace and forgiveness. To attempt to be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to strive to find a better way to solve global problems other than by killing one another.
So, to honor my family who has served this country and to honor my friends currently serving in Iraq and to pray to be a follower of Christ I am inspired by the Dixie Chicks and resolve to speak out often and loudly against this war and any other; seeking to find solutions that will bring lasting peace. And I started by buying the Chicks new CD on Memorial Day and I'm going to their concert here in Phoenix. Peace will come at a price but that price should not include a commitment to the shedding of wartime blood. Jesus' life was offered so that we might have peace.
Check out Leanard Pitts, Tribune Media Services, Chicks spoke up, and their voices filled a void, in the May 30 Arizona Republic, "Opinions."