Sunday, June 2, 2013

Memorial Day – a day to honor those who died for our country.

            Memorial Day has always been a big deal for me. Growing up in Michigan, Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of summer. Back yard cook outs began in earnest. Trips to the beach were planned in the schedule. School would soon be over. There were Memorial Day parades, US flags flying from every corner of town, on graves of loved ones, and on most houses.
The origins of Memorial Day are greatly debated. It’s most likely that the practice of remembering those who had fallen in the service of our country was observed, in an unofficial way, all over the country. The focus on those who died while serving our nation began in the 1860’s.  In 1868 General John Logan ordered that flowers be placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried in Arlington National Cemetery. While states did not take up this observance right away, it is observed nationwide today.
The problem is that many Americans have forgotten or left behind the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. The graves of fallen veterans are often ignored and neglected. Many communities put out flags but Memorial Day parades are rare. Many have come to treat this day as one on which we honor all who have died. This day, however, wais really set aside to honor those who have fallen in the service of our country.
As the war against terrorism continues on in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in other parts of the world, the number of those fallen continues to grow. Yet, no matter where one stands on these conflicts, we all mourn the loss of the men and women who have laid down their lives so we might be and remain free as a nation.
This Memorial Day, remember in your prayers those who have lost loved ones in all the wars and conflicts our nation has fought. Thank the Lord that, over the years, he has given us men and women who are ready to defend to the death the liberties and freedoms we enjoy in the United States. Pray that the Lord would bring peace to our troubled world so that no more blood need be shed.
          Remember also that through God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed his life for ours, has won the greatest freedom of all. He has freed us from the consequences of sin, the power of the grave, and the eternal pain and torment of hell. Through him, we will someday enjoy the perfect joy and bliss of heaven where death, wars, sorrow and pain will be things of the past.