Memorial Day:  A Time to Remember

I have been blessed with the honor of visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.  I remember being moved to tears, even as a child, when we watched the changing of the guard and heard TAPS being played in the distance.  When you look around on that sacred ground, you see the tombs of our fallen brothers and sisters that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation’s freedom.  We as a people are called to be grateful and never forget what these heroes did and how they laid down their lives for our country.

In the days gone by, Memorial Day was filled with flags flying high, parades and bands playing, and people gathering as family and friends to celebrate and say thank you for the sacrifices made.  We have moved away from these traditions and now Memorial Day is all about the official start of summer and holiday sales.  Many in our nation are losing sight of the true importance of this day and remembering all those who have lost their lives for our freedom.

This day, originally known as Decoration Day, is a time for all of us to stop and say thank you for those who served our nation and have given the ultimate sacrifice.  The guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier walk every day in remembrance of the sacrifices made for freedom.  Every day, there is someone standing post and walking 21 steps, and holding each step for 21 seconds to pay tribute to this sacrifice.  They consider it the highest honor to guard such an important place in history.  Before they get a chance to walk this sacred tradition, the must first study and learn about the others who are laid to rest in that cemetery.  They do this so we as a nation will never forget.

Today cemeteries throughout our country are lined up with flags of our fallen heroes.  Their graves are decorated and honored as we say thank you to them for brave service to which they provided.  It is breathtaking to their fellow soldiers to come and pay their respects with a salute and tear.  George W. Bush addressed the nation in 2014 with these words; “They defended our nation, they liberated the oppressed, they served the cause of peace.  And all Americans who have known the loss and sadness of war, whether recently or long ago, can know this: The person they love, and miss is honored and remembered by the United States of America. We must never forget.”

I believe we as a nation owe a great debt of gratitude to our fallen brothers and sisters who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  They followed the example and teaching of our Lord, who said, “There is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends” (John 15:13).  Let us take time this Memorial Day to stop for a moment in our busy lives and remember how blessed we all are for the sacrifices that were made.  God bless all those who have died for our freedom and may God continue to bless our great nation.  We truly are thankful for our freedom.