Today is memorial day. On this day, this national holiday, we citizens of the United States of America are called to remember our dead, specifically the dead warriors of this country. The narrative goes: that we are indebted to the sacrifices of many for the ideals of this country — freedom, justice, etc. It is a fine narrative and one that evokes national pride because it is rooted in ‘rightness’ or in another word, righteousness. However, even when true, it is problematic. It neglects the reality of life, the power-plays, the greed, simulacrum, etc.
There is another way to remember life so that it is no longer meaningless. Essential to Johann Metz is the concept of remembrance. This remembrance is no simple thing; rather, it is an identity forming memory. When rightly understood within Christianity, remembrance is nearly synonymous with discipleship. This discipleship forms one through memory so closely to the action of Jesus that one is identified with Jesus. Thus, to remember Jesus rightly is to become like Jesus, even in his pain and suffering. This is how the Christian life is a life universal for all humanity, rather than simply one nation-state. And so we remember the dead on both sides, even the dead that have not been reconciled with their murderers.
This Christian remembrance transfigures citizens into the fullness of their humanity. Thus memorial day is for us is not a national holiday, but a day that transcends our wars and where we seek partisan remembrance in the context of the entire globe. On memorial day, we remember the hurt ones and the promises of God.