|Posted on May 23, 2018 at 2:15 PM|
Memorial Day is celebrated next week as a long weekend. While most of us will plan family get togethers, picnics with friends, and a variety of recreational activities we need to take time out to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country’s freedom. As the saying, “All gave some and some gave all”, reminds us the freedom we enjoy daily is not free. It cost the lives of men and women who were willing to sacrifice their future, so we could enjoy this long weekend in peace and safety.
Like many others I, too, have friends whose names are etched on a monument in Washington D.C. And even after almost 50 years I can still see their young faces full of life and anticipation about their future when they completed their tour. They had family and friends waiting for them to return home and were excited about what they would do when they did. But there was also another look in their eyes. A look of determination and commitment to complete the task at hand. Although fully aware of the risks and danger they were facing, they had a quiet resolve to finish the job they were assigned and a willingness to sacrifice their future for those beside them.
While all who served took an oath to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, no one sacrifices their life for political ideology only. The motivation for the ultimate sacrifice made by these we honor is best described by Jesus when he said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Regardless of the nature or circumstances regarding the individual sacrifice of their life, they demonstrated that love and for this we honor them. We who are alive today have a sacred duty to remember and honor the sacrifice of those who have laid down their lives for ours.
For the Christian, that duty to remember and honor those who died to make us free extends to the One who died to make us holy. While it is our sacred duty to remember and honor those that died in service of our freedom, it is our privilege to remember and honor our Savior who died to give us eternal life. Through his death and resurrection, we have hope, not only in this life, but in that which is to come. Because of him we can look forward to seeing again those who were taken from us. Although we sorrow at their loss, we have a joyful and confident expectation of a glorious reunion in eternity.
Because we have such hope our observance of Memorial Day does not have to be a morbid preoccupation with death, but a solemn remembrance of and gratitude for those who made the sacrifice for our freedom. Jesus didn’t lay down his life, so we would be sorrowful, but so we could live abundantly and victoriously. Likewise, the love that led the men I know to sacrifice their own lives would insist that we celebrate the very freedom they died for by living joyously during this long weekend. So, enjoy your time with family and friends in whatever your choice of R&R. Just remember those that sacrificed to make you free and holy.