On my way to the office this morning, I heard that Memorial Day parades throughout the tristate area had been canceled because of the rain. Of course I understand that with rain and inclement weather outdoor activities might need to change.But what I was thinking is the irony of canceling the MEMORIAL observance. After all, the root of Memorial Day comes from the concept of memory- remembering those who have fallen in defense of American liberty and justice.
What’s the irony? How can we cancel memory? Memory is after all the foot print of our being. It represents where we’ve been and where we are going. How easy it would be if we could just wipe out bad memories and replace them with good ones. How convenient it would be for our Jewish community to forget pogroms, massacres, and the Holocaust.
On a more personal level how nice it would be to be able to wipe away childhood tears. For many, there are memories of isolation, fear, distrust, abandonment, and sadness. For our girls at Lev Lalev, and for people everywhere it would be convenient to cancel bad memories- but- such “pills” have not yet been invented.Yes- for the lonely and disheartened, bad memories can’t be canceled. Fortunately, despite these life challenges, we personally and institutionally can create a positive environment. At Lev Lalev we give our girls specialized therapy and a loving environment to enable them to deal with their unfortunate memories.
Yes- it’s not hard to cancel a Memorial Day parade- but “it aint easy”, and it’s not instantaneous to cancel MEMORY. What we have to do is channel memory from sadness and desolation, and use it for good. My friend Sherri Mandel wrote about this in her very personal book “Blessings of the broken heart”, during which she describes the aftermath of the murder of her son Koby of blessed memory. She speaks about the need to take tragedy and turn it into a positive act. While this is easier said than done, our job in life is to move forward and use each and every experience to help us become better and stronger people.