Although I am relatively new to this community it didn't take long for me to find out that the previous years' practice of a united Sylvan Lake-Keego Harbor Memorial Day Parade was going to be fractured into two separate events. This regrettable situation required our congregation, as well as other groups, to decide in which event we were going to participate. To me it was a sad moment. And without going into all the reasons for which this decision was made, let me just say that the situation didn't send a very unifying message to the broader community.
At Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church the decision was to join in the Keego Harbor effort with our little float and our efforts to reach out to the attendees with a few sweet treats and some info on our upcoming events. As we marched the mile or so of the parade route, however, I couldn't help but wonder how the Sylvan Lake event was progressing and if they were having as good a time as we were.
Once we arrived at the end point I observed the set-up for the actual memorial event, with the members of the military around, flags in abundance, the band tuning up and getting ready to play. And I was reminded that local differences should not, and did not, take away from the meaning of the day. We are one nation, under one God, and we all want the same thing on Memorial Day-to offer our community a chance to remember and celebrate the sacrifice of our sons and daughters, and to lift up our nation as a whole. Thanks, Keego Harbor, for offering us a wonderful time-to connect with neighbors and to honor those whose sacrifice continues to remind us that freedom isn't free.