The homily was a marvelous occasion to briefly and gently offer consolation and provide comforting words to the families who may still be in grief for the loss of their loved ones. The fallen soldiers were undeniably the unsung heroes of this day. They left a lasting legacy not only to lady liberty and the land they love but to those who struggle for peace and find meaning in a society torn by violence. While I personally abhor war, I respect the decisions of those who risked their lives to defend America and its allies including the Philippines from those who harbor injustice and violate the inalienable right of every human being all for the cause of freedom. I remember two years ago, a young man fresh from High School about to enter the service came to me and asked for a blessing before heading to Iraq. I gave him a rosary to keep and a pocket bible as his spiritual compass. On this day of remembrance, I was overjoyed and awed when religion is once again mixed with the great sense of Nationalism, the American Pride. Amen.
This morning at eight, I presided over a Mass at Our Lady of the Desert Catholic Cemetery in memory and honor of the countless men and women in uniform who lost their lives in the war. It was kind of ironic that a Filipino Priest celebrated it with over 200 devout Catholics. This annual sacred event, formerly observed as Decoration Day, did not become a federal holiday until 1971. By then, the official date was moved to the last Monday of May earning a three- day weekend which marks the start of summer when schools are gone, snowbirds back to their home states and the weather especially in AZ, gets really hot.