Is it time for America to create a National Day of Mourning for gun violence victims?
Think about that.
Memorial Day I wrote a piece about how children’s funerals create memories that cannot be forgotten and my difficulty in finding peace in my relationship with God. Sitting in a neighborhood church the evening of September 11, 2001, feels like the last time the ritual of praying and singing in community brought calm. The day the world changed, and innocent people became the hunted of those with evil in their plans.
My final paragraph of the original work was my main message: If there is a way to create calm or comfort for those mourning in Uvalde, please let that happen. For the near future, lets put guns in the safes and do gun related political theater in backrooms. These are days to stand with the grieving and honor the children and their teachers.
Tuesday stats about gun violence across the country over Memorial Weekend were published. Wednesday a lone gunman took lives in Tulsa. And local schools cancelled their last days of school because of shooter threats. Babies being buried in one state and grieving beginning in others. The circle doesn’t close. Violent gun carriers, particularly those with assault guns, don’t give us a day off.
Perhaps it is time for America to create a National Day of Mourning for gun victims. Place the day somewhere in a quiet month like March where it won’t morph into a cookout festival. And make it a Wednesday so the travel industry won’t advertise three-day weekends in happy places. Mark the day as special by pairing it with a mandatory national service initiative. Support those who grieve and remember the potential our nation lost in each of those unnatural deaths. If there is no way to control the killing, let us at least honor our dead and remember their names.
We know better. Outdoor party plans don’t guarantee sunshine and soft breezes. We can hope for the best, but best be prepared for rain and thunder. We can wish that just this one time, the weather gods will spin the right number so our guests can enjoy walking and talking in the gardens.
Feels like wishing and hoping might be what’s left as what regular people can do about more and more truly large decisions or actions that impact their lives. With masks and vaccinations, many hope to escape sneaky Covid variations. Powerful men chose to scrape other people from the face of the earth although everyone hoped the threat was just that. Partisan hatred locks decision making amidst the people we elected hoping they might work together. They tie up the executive branch where folks are wishing things would start improving. Then what was once the most solemn of our nation’s institutions spits out a hateful decision on all those who hoped the laws of the land would be upheld or wished for a miracle from the stacked bench.
Sure seems like miracles have followed the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus to fantasy land. Appeals for contributions to protect the environment, protect freedom of speech, protect women’s health, or many other threatened values mostly keep people employed in the gigantic rat race called the great democratic experiment with no guarantee of positive results.
So many groups stand outside, disenchanted and disenfranchised, hoping for a sunny day in Washington, D.C. when the politicians and policy makers might come out of their buildings, shake off whatever protects them from the stuff normal folks deal with and breathe in some real air.
I’m wishing they would come live with regular people for a couple of months, sit in a public school classroom for a full day, plan two weeks of meals before grocery shopping on a budget, deal with the endless impersonal bureaucracy everywhere from making a doctor appointment to asking about a bill. That’s just a start. And hope they could walk city streets safely among those tired of disappointment in government and feel the strength and anger of their action.
Not hoping for daily sunshine and soft breezes or wishing for more than our fair share. Just reminding those who govern that it is at the will of the people who expect some respect for what we hold as truth.