Memorial Day for most people is a Monday holiday, a brief respite before the last push for the end of the school year. For some people Memorial Day is best known as the 1st day of summer, than a day to remember those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom. Being in San Diego, we remember the military and their faithful service for the cause of freedom. We remember and give thanks, not because we love war, we don’t. We remember because we recognize sacrifices have been made that we might be free.
Often it is the ultimate sacrifice we remember, life lost on a battle field — a son who will not be back, a husband who will never return, a father who will not see his little girl grow up. We remember, we grieve, and we give thanks.
Having seen the memorial at Pearl Harbor and conducted graveside funerals at Fort Rosecrans, I am moved by sacrifice and service. Some died in battle, some died later in life. All sacrificed. All served. We remember and we give thanks.
Leadership involves tough decisions, especially when it comes to issues of war, freedom and peace. It’s why most of us don’t want to be president, and pray for wisdom for those who do.
Recently I found AmericanRhetoric.com, among its features are the top 100 speeches of the last century in America. Kennedy’s inaugural address, Martin Luther King Jr.’s, “I have a dream speech”, as well as speeches in times of war and significant moments in American history.
I listened to FDR “day of infamy” speech in declaring a state of war with Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Though way before my time, it defines the church I serve. Our founding pastor and his family were getting ready to move from the mid-west to La Mesa. Their former church was having a going away party, it was during that party they heard the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He and his family made the sacrifice still to come. During a time of war, a church of hope was born.
Unfortunately we still find ourselves at a time of war, and fortunately we still are a church of hope. Instead of France and Germany, Guam and Midway, our nation’s armed forces are in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other places were evil and terror rear their ugly head. We still need hope. We still pray for peace. We still need to remember and give thanks.
As a Christ follower, I recognize war is part of our sinful nature — man’s inhumanity to man. God desires peace for us His children and the world He created. I also realize that our God has made the ultimate sacrifice. He gave His one and only Son in the war against sin, that we might have freedom, that we might have lasting peace. This gift especially we must remember and give thanks. It is the one war that will end all wars.
Thank you to those who serve so honorably in our armed forces. Thank you for the sacrifices your families make in time away, holidays together missed, and for your being willing to go in harm’s way that we might be safe, that we might be free. This Memorial Day, I again remember and give thanks. How will you remember and give thanks this Memorial Day?