|Posted on May 24, 2017 at 1:35 PM|
What are you plans for this Memorial Day weekend? Most of us make plans to enjoy an extra day off from work to get together with friends and family for BBQs and recreational activities. While such plans are fun, they often obscure the true purpose of this special day. It’s called Memorial Day because it is a designated day of remembrance. It is a time for us to remember the sacrifices made for our freedom and to realize, once again, that freedom isn’t free. This does not mean we shouldn’t enjoy the day, but that we also need to take time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our liberty.
The history of our nation reveals the price of freedom to be the willing sacrifice of men and women giving up their lives for liberty. Every generation since the early days of Patrick Henry has those who declared, “Give me liberty or give me death”. Our national cemeteries both here at home and overseas are silent reminders of the high cost of freedom paid by so many over the years. We who are alive and enjoy our liberties have a sacred duty to never forget the price they paid and honor their willing sacrifice for our freedom. Our gratitude may be expressed in part by simply remembering their service on our behalf.
On Memorial Day, there are a variety of solemn events in the community to remember those who have given their lives for the sake of freedom. Participating in such events is certainly a good opportunity to express our gratitude for those who have given so much for our freedom. But observing Memorial Day is not just a public expression of our thanks. It is also a time of personal reflection in which we consider the benefits of such sacrifices. What gives meaning and purpose to the willingness of so many to lay down their lives is the liberties enjoyed by those they died to protect. We not only remember and appreciate their sacrifice, but also determine to live a life that makes their death worth it.
Our supreme example of both the meaning of such sacrifice and the benefits for those who live is found in the eternal sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His sacrificial love for us was fully expressed in his willingness to lay down his life so we could live. He defined the sacrifices we remember when he said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” What gives meaning to the otherwise senseless death of so many is not only the love expressed by their dying for their friends, but also for the lives their friends live out in love. The liberty we are given in the death of Christ is only fully expressed in our love for others. Likewise, the freedoms we enjoy today can only be fully realized and appreciated as we live to love others. The full measure of our liberty is found in our own willingness to lay down our lives for our friends. May God shed his grace on our country and “crown our good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea”