Don’t Forget To Remember



Flags in memory of and in honor of veterans wave in a grassy field outside of Punxsutawney , thanks to Dick and Ava Bishop of Punxsutawney, who set up the display and provide the flags and cards to anyone who wants to place a flag.


“In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones, mean?’ tell them . . .” Joshua 4:21–22 (NIV)

With three grandchildren on different ball teams (plus one of them umpires), hubby and I are at the Punxsutawney Little League Fields just about every evening. After the sixth game in four days, I told Dean we should park our camper at the ball field.

The Punxsutawney Little League complex is almost a second home to us, as we spent many a summer afternoon and evening there when our youngest played baseball. Five well-maintained and lighted ball fields for Minor League, Little League, Senior Little League, what we call the “Teener League” (VFW), and girls’ softball, are located beside Mahoning Creek.

Each ball field is named for someone local. Some honor those who have devoted much of their time to maintain and improve the fields and the league. Two fields are named as memorials.

The Little League field is called the “Billy Titus Memorial Field,” named after a Punxsutawney Little Leaguer who was killed in a farming accident.

The VFW League field, the Rich Kuntz Memorial Field, is named for SP4 Richard Lorraine Kuntz, who was killed in action in Vietnam on February 5, 1968, six weeks before his twenty-first birthday.

My grandson once asked me, “Who was Rich Kuntz? Why is the field named after him?” Since I’ve spent half a lifetime at the fields and know the stories behind the names, I was able to tell him. But it got me wondering: How many people drive right by those signs or even say the name of the ball field and don’t realize the significance?

Memorials are built and named so we won’t forget, so those who come after will learn of the sacrifice of the Vietnam soldier, the love a little leaguer who never got to play Senior League had for the game.

This weekend we observe Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor and remember our military men and women who gave their lives in service to our country.

Some died in action, some went missing in action and never were found, some died a slow death after they came home and tried to resume a normal life. Some are still alive, but they will never be the same.

Sadly, these holidays that are set aside to remember and honor those who have stepped to the plate for our country are too often perceived as simply a day off work, to relax, catch up on things, feast and frolic.

While there’s nothing wrong with any of those activities, let us not forget to remember why we observe Memorial Day.

On the way to the baseball complex, there’s a grassy field beside the road that’s covered with U.S. flags. Each time I passed it last week, more flags waved in the breeze. Thursday, I slowed down to read the sign. Passersby are invited to place a free flag there in honor of a veteran.


I didn’t have time to stop. But you know what? As soon as I finished writing my column on Friday, I drove to that field and placed three flags: in honor of my husband (U.S. Marine Corps, 1968–1972), my father (U.S. Army, World War II), and my father-in-law (U.S. Navy, World War II). It was the least I could do.

What about you? What are you doing to remember this Memorial Day?

Thank you, Lord, for those who gave themselves to serve, protect, and defend our country. Let us never forget the sacrifices they made. Amen.

Extra tea: Read and meditate on Joshua 4


Factory Resets Aren’t Always the Answer


So we do not lose heart. Though our outward nature is wasting away, our inner nature in being renewed every day. –2 Corinthians 4:16

My friend and colleague Karen O’Connor once wrote a book, Getting’ Old Ain’t for Wimps. The older I get, the more I realize how true those words are. It seems that with every year, something on this old body quits working, or quits working the way it should, and never gets back to “factory settings.”

I say “factory settings” because a computer can be restored to the settings that were on it when you purchased it. The problem is a reset erases all the information you have stored. I may be able to reset my computer—and even my cell phone—back to the way it was when it was brand new, but that has both positive and negative effects. On the positive side, resetting it will get rid of the junk that I don’t know about or understand that’s using the memory and slowing my computer down. On the negative side, resetting would cause me to lose things I don’t want to lose, things I worked hard to produce.

So it is with our bodies. We may wish to be young again, to have the health and vigor we had back in the day. But then I don’t want to lose all the wisdom, knowledge, and experience I’ve gained over my lifetime.

Solomon advises in Ecclesiastes: “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).

They were better because I had my health. My dreams and my future all still lay before me like a field of unbroken snow. But I was clueless, selfish, and without God, and I do NOT want to go back to that state.

I’m in my mid-sixties now. I never thought I’d come to the point where health would be an issue. But here I am, researching natural ways to deal with the breaking down parts of my body rather than ingest more chemicals that may be more harmful than good.

My memory is slowing down, my blood pressure is speeding up, my energy is decreasing, my aches are increasing (Where? Everywhere!). I have more people in my life to worry about, but that means I have more love—to give and to receive.

I’ve lost loved ones, and the older I get, the more I stand to lose. But also, the more I get to love, as my family grows with grandchildren, and in a few years, great-grandchildren.

But I do not fear growing older, even with certain grief and pain and loss that is sure to come, as it does to all who live long enough.

I do not fear because I have a soul that is eternal, that isn’t wasting away like this old body is, but is being renewed daily.

I do not fear because faith, hope, and love are growing daily.

I do not fear because I will never be alone. My God is with me now, and He will always be, as He promised: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he; I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you” (Isaiah 46:4).

When the aches and pains (inner and outer) remind me of how old I’m getting, Lord, YOU remind me of how young my spirit is. Amen.

Extra tea: Read and meditate on 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:5 and Psalm 91


For more information about KAREN O’CONNOR, her books, and her refreshing perspective on life, visit her website. You can even sign up for her Senior Moments e-newsletter and blog, The Bright Side of Aging.