The Holy One whom we worship and adore is a Rememberer. The Creator who shaped billions of galaxies each holding billions of stars remembers names. The very palms of God are scribbled with names, so that none are forgotten (Isaiah 49:16).
Maya Lin’s idea for a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall stirred strong, conflicting opinions. A long black wall of names? Is that the right way to remember more than 58,000 Americans in military service who were killed during the Vietnam War? The millions of people who have visited this memorial since its completion say yes with their fingertips. Remember the names.
During the years I served Olds United Church of Christ in southeast Iowa, the community observance of Memorial Day included a somber reading of names. Beginning with the Civil War and ending lamisil cream used for (then) with the Vietnam War, the names of community members killed in each war were somberly read. Listening and praying, we heard familiar family names. We heard names of Swedish immigrants who were killed as soldiers for a country so newly theirs. Names. We were reminded to remember the names.
Once more this Monday, we keep a national remembering day. We may have the opportunity to hear names solemnly read and prayerfully remembered. We may visit a family cemetery and see graves of persons who were killed in long ago wars. Or in wars not yet ended. We might leave a flower. We might trail our fingertip over engraved letters. We practice a Godway. We honor the Rememberer. We remember the names.
—Jonna Jensen, Associate Conference Minister