Memorial Day is a special holiday where Americans celebrate and mourn the lives of those who died in active service with the armed forces. It is celebrated on the last Monday every year in May.
While American’s associate the day specifically with fallen heroes, it is also a time when many communities choose to recognize and solute living active and/or retired heroes as well. Many churches ask those who have served to wear their uniforms to church on the last Sunday in May.
I used to work at a college located next door to a veteran’s cemetery. Each year the college would hold a memorial service and invite retired service men and women as well as the directors of the cemetery to campus for a time of reflection on our freedom and the sacrifices so many have made for our country.
People in the armed forces do not start wars, but they go where they are assigned and the do what they are instructed to do. They serve to protect freedoms, fight for those who are persecuted, and protect those who are in harms way. They certainly deserve our honor and respect regardless of the conflict, regardless of the outcome, and regardless of whether or not we agree with the political reasons behind the conflict.
This year Memorial Day has felt a little off. My dad assembled IRL engines for his career. The same IRL cars that drive in the Indy 500. That race normally occurs on Memorial Day weekend. This year it was postponed until the fall.
Our church usually honors service members and I typically hear all of the different songs for the different branches of the armed forces, but not this year.
On Memorial Day many families have barbecues, the spend time outdoors and in the sun. This year it rained like 5 inches in our town.
It has just been different. We did, however take the kids and go see my dad. After we had been at his house for a while, he said, “it didn’t feel like Memorial Day until you guys got here.” As I started thinking about my own day, I realized it had not been much of a Memorial Day for me either, but finally getting to see the kids play, getting some family interaction, and a sense of normalcy really did help.
This year many likely did not get to do the things they normally do. Their traditions had to be put on hold. They may not have even been able to be with the one’s we love.
Sometimes the struggles we have in life are not against a foreign power, another person, or even ourselves. The struggles are against the consequences of sin and the fall. People are struggling now even in the free world with how to be free when so much around us is broken.
I propose that this year we all take a few minutes to reflect on those who have given their lives for our freedom in the armed forces. I also suggest we spend a few minutes thinking about those on the front lines fighting the COVID-19 virus. They are risking their health to do what they can to nurse others back to health. We should also think about those who are struggling financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally, and we should ask ourselves what we can do in our own sphere of influence to support them.
We should never forget what our armed forces have done or what they continue to do for us. We should also make it a point to remember others who work tirelessly to keep us safe in other areas of life.
If you served in the armed forces at any point in your life…Thank You!!!
If you are a first responder….Thank You!!!
If you are an Officer of the Peace in any form (Police, Sheriff, State Trooper, etc.)…Thank You!!!
If you are a Fire Fighter…Thank You!!!
If you are a teacher…Thank You!!!
If you care for your fellow man and do what you can to help others in need…Thank You!!!!