From there, the collect calls us to memory, gratitude, and responsibility. First of all, we remember on this Memorial Day weekend those men and women who "in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy." Their lives of service, their willingness to lay down their lives for the sake of something bigger, evokes in us grateful hearts. Those who have given the ultimate sacrifice deserve our humble thanks.
But if it stops there, it seems to me we do not fully honor their memories. The second half of the prayer goads us to live in such a way that does honor to their memories. We cannot talk about freedom without discipline (or for that matter about discipline without freedom.) True freedom is not the "right" to do whatever we damn well please; that's anarchy. Discipline without freedom, however, is facism. Those who serve in the Armed Forces understand this connection; so, too, do disciples of Jesus Christ.
So we continue to engage in this dance toward freedom and justice and peace--pausing this weekend in between grilled hot dogs not only to remember and to give thanks, but also to ask the harder follow-up question: how can we live our lives this week, in ways that honor their sacrifices?