Let's Remember

Travis Markes, in a sermon, tells a little about the history of Memorial Day… “We set aside time in America each year to remember some of the important dates of our history. Tomorrow is one of those days: Memorial Day. On May 30, 1868, our country observed the first day memorializing those who had fallen in battle during the Civil War. It was called ‘Decoration Day’ at that time. In the few short years following the Civil War, dozens of local observances honoring fallen Civil War soldiers had sprung up in communities across the country. Most were done by decorating gravesites with flowers.

Although many cities claim the honor, the official birthplace of Memorial Day is Waterloo, New York. On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, in his role as commander-in-chief of a veteran’s organization called The Grand Army of the Republic, introduced a proclamation that ‘Decoration Day’ be observed nationally. On May 30 of the same year, it was observed, and the date was chosen specifically because it was not the anniversary of a battle. The term ‘Memorial Day’ was first used in 1882 and the observances were expanded to include all who had been lost in the time of war. The day became more widely observed following World War II and was declared a national holiday in 1967. The National Holiday Act of 1971 moved the official observance of Memorial Day to the last Monday in May.”

Some years ago, President Ronald Reagan gave a moving Memorial Day speech of which part said, “It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country, in defense of us, in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray haired….But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives — the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for our country, for us. And all we can do is remember.”

Remembering is really a small duty compared to the sacrifices made by so many to secure our freedoms. But it is a necessary practice lest we take for granted that what we have, who we are, and what can be, is largely because of what they did. I can’t help but wonder if all the recent college protesters have contemplated and grasped the fact that their ability to live in this country and shake their fists at the ‘system’ they so obviously despise, is the result of the sacrifices of men and women who laid down their lives to give them that liberty?—My bet is no, and in spite of their supposed ‘elite’ school status, neither they nor their professors are smart enough to connect the dots! As President Franklin Roosevelt said, “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men [and women] died to win them.”

But remembering with gratitude is not just vital for our nation, it’s also vital to our spiritual well-being, and scripture repeatedly exhorts us to remember. Over 100 times remembering, and remembrances are spoken of in the Bible. More than once God instituted memorials so that His people would remember what He had done for them… Genesis 9 gives us the rainbow memorial. Numbers 9 gives us the Passover memorial; Joshua 4 teaches us about the “stones” of remembrance taken from the Jordan River. And perhaps the greatest memorial of all, given to us by Christ Himself, is the Lord’s Supper commemorating the greatest sacrifice of all time to provide eternal freedom.

So, this weekend as you celebrate Memorial Day, it’s worth reflecting on both the sacrifices of our service men and women to secure our national freedoms, and the sacrifice of our Savior that secured our eternal freedom… and let us say thanks for both!!!

And remember, God is always trying to take you someplace new. I love being your Pastor!

For God’s Glory Alone,
Pastor Ray

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1 Comment

Robert (Bobby) Price - May 25th, 2024 at 12:17pm

What a Glorious and eloquent story of Memoralizing the freedoms we all enjoy!