Remembering Our Loved Ones


As a nation, annually, we pause on the last Monday in May for Memorial Day, a day set aside to remember those who have died serving our nation. Just after the end of the Civil War, the day was established to remember those who died in that War and was called Decoration Day. As time went on, and our nation faced other wars, the scope of this day grew to remember all who died in service of our nation.

While this is the origin of Memorial Day, it has taken on a much broader scope. We not only remember those who served and died for our country, but we have grown to remember all of our loved ones who have fallen asleep in the Lord. Remembering our loved ones is an essential part of our Faith. We not only remember our loved ones when they pass away with a funeral, but we remember them through Memorial Services. These services are frequently offered at specific times, 40 days, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, for example, but in reality can be offered anytime.

We also remember our loved ones on specific days set aside by the Church, such as Saturday of Souls offered the two Saturdays just prior to and the first Saturday of Great Lent along with the Saturday before Pentecost. There are also other opportunities to remember our loved ones who have fallen asleep in the Lord. Sometimes we might offer a Trisagion Service (an abbreviated memorial service offered without coliva) as we do on Memorial Day at the cemeteries. One can also submit names to be memorialized during the Service of Preparation (Proskomide) and during the Divine Liturgy.

The important take away from all these prescribed services and general opportunities to remember our loved ones, is that it is a significant act to remember them. There is importance in memory. One of the phrases used as a greeting upon the death of someone is, ‘May their memory be eternal’. This is also a hymn sung at Memorial services. This hymn become an important reminder for us that as long as we remember those who have gone before us, they continue to live through us.

This remembrance benefits them and us. So this weekend, as we pause to remember those who have sacrificed their lives for our country and our freedom, we also remember those who have impacted our lives and helped to form who we are, and continue to do so as we remember them, both in memories and prayer, holding them close to our hearts. May Their Memory Be Eternal!