Memorial Day means different things to different people. It usually falls around the time of graduation and the ending of school. For some it is the beginning of summer. Picnics, BBQs, family reunions, and sporting events are all associated with Memorial Day. For some it is simply a welcomed day off from work.
For others Memorial Day is a sacred time. Memorial Day is a United States Federal Holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May. It was formerly known as Decoration Day. This holiday commemorates United States men and women who have died in military service to their country.
A few years ago I visited two parents who lost their son in Afghanistan. The son was like a little brother to me—he was a youth in a church I served. We laughed about days past. I told them stories about their son and listened to many of theirs. We ate burgers and mashed potatoes together. They shared dreams that would never be fulfilled. Hopes that would never be realized. Even though the son died a few years prior to my visit, it was like the pain was as deep and real for them as if I was the person who was breaking the news to them for the very first time.
Then she looked at me with a tear flowing down her cheek like a sprinkle of rain dripping down a rock. I’ll never forget what she said: “One thing we are learning is that God knows what it’s like to lose a son for the freedom of many. In our darkest moments, He has always been our shining light.”
Freedom isn’t free. Attorneys don’t provide freedom of speech. Soldiers do. Preachers don’t give freedom of religion. Military families do. We are grateful for soldiers, sailors, air men and women, and their families.
As Americans we are blessed with political, economic, and religious freedom as no other group of people in the history of the world has ever been blessed before. This did not come without a high price. Many of us have known somebody who has lost their life defending the things that make the United States so great. As Christians we are blessed with spiritual freedom as well. Things like hope, forgiveness, and grace give us both an abundant and eternal life. This did not come without a high price either. Jesus lost his life so we can experience a full life that will last forever.
To all those who have served, who are serving, and their families—thank you!