Memorial Day is upon us. Nationally, this weekend offers a moment to pause collectively with gratitude for and in recognition of those who have died in military service to our country. It is also an opportunity to usher in the unofficial start of summer and, perhaps, enjoy the company of our loved ones and friends over this long weekend.
Sadly, these types of celebratory gatherings will seem out of place in so many corners of our country. Instead, Memorial Day will have a different tone this year in Uvalde, Texas; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Orange County, Calif., just to name some of the locations of our nation’s most recent and repulsive attacks. There, the mourning continues amongst families, friends, and neighbors of those affected.
I pray for these communities. I pray for this nation, too. But we all know prayer is not enough.
If you are like me, you feel the frustration of the seemingly routine nature of these tragedies, not to mention the daily homicides that occur in our city. We cannot allow these attacks, whether random or racially motivated, to become an acceptable fact of life in America. Among the most significant challenges facing our country is the regular and abhorrent violence we are witnessing.
We should not fear leaving our homes to worship, learn, or shop for groceries. We should be equipping our children with academic lessons that will shape their lives, instead of lessons on how to survive when an active shooter invades their school.
We are part of a Catholic Lasallian university community where we are educating the next generation of compassionate leaders and engaged citizens. That is our daily charge and, in supplement, we must challenge ourselves to contribute solutions to these systemic issues. Tolerance and prayers are crucial, but they remain insufficient.
I share in the immense grief experienced by those most closely affected by these tragedies. I have not lost hope for a more just society that is rid of senseless violence. Toward that end, let us continue to work together and mourn together, and let us always be kind to each other and support one another.
As we take time this holiday weekend to gather with loved ones, let us remember again, in gratitude, the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. And please do so with my extraordinary gratitude for all that you do to make La Salle University the special place that it is today.