We witness that many young Americans have forgotten the meaning of and purpose behind our national holiday referred to as Memorial Day. Alas, this day will slip away without much thought of original significance, as the holiday has more become the gateway into the summer season of family gatherings, BBQs, and other outdoor schemes. This is ironic to say the least, if it is true that our youthful generations have forgotten what we are to remember.
That is too bad, because remembering or memory is a great gift. It reminds us of what actually happened as others sacrificed for our security. It also encourages us when we think of the loyalty of those who fought and died. A sense of gratitude and appreciation stirs within me, and strengthens my determination to do my part in serving God, country and others as I remember.
Memorial Day is set aside to call to mind the many that have perished on battlefields near and far. Known as Decoration Day prior to Memorial Day, it was common for families to gather at cemeteries to place flowers and flags on veteran’s graves. When I was very young this was an annual event in our families. Often we would visit more than one “Grave Yard” in rural Missouri. Even at that time it became a common day to decorate the graves of all our loved ones, veterans or not.
As a veteran of the Vietnam War, I have a tremendous debt of gratitude in my heart for all who sacrificed their lives in the defense of fellow Americans and peoples victimized by evil intents all around this world. Moreover, friends, this gratitude goes all the way back to the inception of this great nation, and the millions of sacrifices made.
I have too many friends listed on the Vietnam Wall. Many more spent the rest of their lives dying resulting from Agent Orange used in the jungles there. Though we do not know all the names of these heroes, I will never forget them—we must never forget them. To all who have given life for lives, I thank you—I remember—we remember!
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)