In 1971, the United States Congress declared the last Monday
in May as a federal holiday known as Memorial Day. Prior to this official
declaration many states had already been setting aside time to remember
soldiers who had died defending our country and fighting for freedom.
You may still hear some people refer to this holiday as
Decoration Day because this term emerged from the shadows of our nation’s Civil
War when women decorated the graves of fallen soldiers who died in that war.
How quickly we can forget the tremendous sacrifices men and
women have made throughout our nation’s history.
Some paid the ultimate price of their very lives. We should
each take time to honor the fallen dead of all our wars as we reflect on the
tremendous price that was paid for the freedom we enjoy today. We ought to
honor these heroes of the past, but how quickly we tend to forget.
Because our brave soldiers are deployed for months or years
at a time they miss out on family occasions like birthdays, anniversaries,
school plays and even being at the hospital when their children are born.
I recently learned through the work of our Convention’s
chaplaincy ministry that more and more soldiers are returning home only to
struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder. The sacrifices made for freedom
have indeed been great.
I think it would be difficult to find an American living in
this country who would say he or she does not appreciate all that our military
men and women have done in order to preserve the way of life we have come to
enjoy. Yet, I often wonder: are we really thankful and do we really take time
I ask you to make this a year when you truly take time to
give God thanks. Thank Him for those who served our country so well.
Pray for the families who still grieve because a loved one
has died in war. Parents, perhaps this Memorial Day you take your children to a
cemetery and place a flag on the grave of a soldier who died preserving the
cause of freedom.
Remember to pray for our military personnel who serve today
and also for those “wounded warriors” who survived combat, but the injuries
they sustained in battle will radically alter their future. Pray for our
military chaplains who minister to soldiers and their families. Pray that they
will lead many within the military community to a saving faith in Christ Jesus.
I also pray that God will develop in each one of our hearts
an attitude of remembrance and gratitude that extends far beyond this one
holiday weekend each year.
If you know someone who has served or someone who is serving
in our military — take some time to let them know you are grateful.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 33:12
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