Memorial Day is not the first day of summer. It is not a day to mark the beginning of summer activities. It is not a day to celebrate with friends and family in a big bar-b-Que although we all do that. Stores have memorial day sales. Grocery stores run specials on things for a cook out.
When I was a little girl, my Dad would walk us to a local cemetery. There was an area for funerals or for memorials. On Memorial Day a small military unit stood at attention. Old men would stand up and speak. Everyone looked ancient to me. Taps was played. It wasn’t something that I looked forward to, as we had to be still and quiet. We sat on a tombstone to see the activities. My Dad would be one of them to stand at attention beside us in the grass. He looked somber. It would last less than an hour and then we would walk home, looking forward to grilled hotdogs and beans.
As I have grown older and after having been a navy wife for almost 21 years, I have realized why we have Memorial Day. It is not for veterans. It is not for those who are serving. This day is for those who died while in uniform. Lives cut short, many in foreign countries and in their early 20’s. Those boys who had the courage and determination to defend our country. They not only put their lives on the lines, they gave their lives. They never returned home. Their rooms were never occupied again, they never hugged their family again. They gave. They deserve to be remembered. They deserve honor.
Yes, we will most likely have a picnic type lunch. We will look forward to summer. We will have a day to enjoy one another. My bunting is up to show my love for our country. Red, white and blue are evident on our outside, and inside. I am unashamedly patriotic.
But today, let us remember the men and women who have given all. In the Old Testament we read many times of memorials being built to remember events. One example is from Joshua 4:4-7,”So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. 5 He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. 6 We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” (NLT)
In the New Testament memorials continued, “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19 (NKJV)
We do things daily as remembrances, at church we do the same. Today, let us remember those who gave for you. Let us honor those who gave their lives for you.