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Memorial Day Reflections: Honor and Seva

Today, I honor those who died serving the nation. Let me, with folded hands, say Namaste to all those who have served.
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The month of May gives us many occasions to honor and remember those who served...

This month, we honor the birth of many great proponents of Vedic heritage Adi Shankaracharya, Buddha, Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Amardas whose influence is felt as much today as it was in their time. On Mother's Day we honor mothers; they are the first teacher of a child. And, on Memorial Day, the men and women who serve and protect us.

VidyaSeva, our theme for the month of May pays tribute to the great gurus and teachers who promoted service through education and knowledge. They all taught. us to serve; to serve with devotion and honor those who serve.

As I reflect on Memorial Day, my heart is full of gratitude for America's diverse men and women who made this country strong, and for the many who have died in its service. Some immigrants and many the progeny of immigrants! All serving and doing their dharmic seva.

Memorial Day started as Decoration Day with the Civil War; a tradition of honoring and remembering those who have died in our nation's service. I am thankful for the values lit by the torch of liberty in this land of the free and the brave. This light has brought people of all ethnicities, faiths, traditions and countries to this nation. I pray for inclusion of all faiths.

I am a new American, a beneficiary of the 1965 Hart Cellar Act which eliminated highly restrictive "national origins" quotas. I am a person of eastern faith, a Dharmic American, a Hindu American. My life has been touched in many ways by the people who served and are serving in the armed forces . My own civic engagement journey started by marching in the Memorial Day Parade in the town in which I live.

Today, we find Dharmic people (Hindu, Buddhist, Jains and Sikhs) proudly serving in the military. The new Americans want equitable acceptance. My heart is filled with gratitude for the people who recognize their own immigrant roots and how their forefathers were helped. People like Lt. Colonel Ravi Chaudhary, Rajiv Srinivasan , Major Aarti Puri, Capt. (Dr.) Tejdeep Singh Rattan, and Capt. (Dr.) Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi and Dean Ravi Jain.

Diversity, multiculturalism and pluralism are here to stay. I pray they become an accepted and ubiquitous part of American life.

I don't know if it is a larger moral or spiritual obligation, or a religious obligations to welcome the stranger, or if we are our brother's keepers. All I know is that I, and the people around me, have seen a lot of goodness. And, I want to and choose to believe this is the real America!

Today, I honor those who died serving the nation. Let me, with folded hands, say Namaste to all those who have served, are serving and will serve as we center ourselves in Oneness, in the place within us where Love, Truth, Light and Peace reside.

Let me honor the message of Oneness that Adi Shankaracharya, the great 8th century Hindu saint and philosopher taught through the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta (philosophy of non-dualism).


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