Next week we celebrate Memorial Day.
I will admit that I have not always been the best at honoring and remembering those who have died defending our country and all that it stands for. I want to do better.
We are all a work in progress.
I found a few interesting facts about Memorial Day, according to The History Channel, that I thought would be good to share.
- First, did you know it was originally known as Decoration Day? On the day it was celebrated, people would decorate graves with flags and flowers to honor those who had died in The Civil War.
- Memorial Day was declared an official holiday in 1971, and that was when it found its day as the last Monday in May.
- Something else I didn’t know was that at 3pm local time a national moment of remembrance takes place.
- And one more thing – the red poppy. This became a symbol of remembrance because of the experiences of two individuals, John McCrae and Moina Michael, who wrote poems about what they witnessed. Moina started the campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to all who died in war.
I recently listened to a podcast about a woman whose husband was killed in action while serving in the army. Her perspective really made me think about how much I take for granted all those who serve our country in this way. Of course I am grateful and love my freedom. But something she said made me rethink how I might show that appreciation better. She said (totally paraphrasing) that for her husband, loving God, country, and family were one and the same. He felt that as he served God, he was serving his country and his family. When he was serving his country, he was serving God and his family. And the same was true as he served his family. As he served and worked for freedom, he was serving and working for all three. She suggested that the best way others can honor those who have given their lives, and also those who continue to serve and work for freedom, is to live the best lives we can, so we can protect all that has been fought so hard for.
So what might that look like? It may look like more kindness for our neighbor. It may look like being more patient with our loved ones. It may look like more understanding for those who think differently than us. It may be trying again and again to live as Jesus Christ taught.
Jenny Taylor, the gold star widow of her husband, Brent, who shared her experience on the podcast, noted that Christ did the very same things that fallen soldiers have done, but for the whole human family. He served God, fought for our freedom, and died to secure that freedom for His family – all of us. What God asks of each of us in return for that gift, is to love Him and to love our neighbor.
Can I do that? I can certainly give it my best effort. And I can keep trying each day to give it my continuing best effort.
I like that I can show my appreciation to all those who are willing to and have given their lives to the cause of life and liberty for each of us, by extending love. I will most likely fail to do a good job of showing the love I feel at times, but I will continue to make the effort.
And isn’t it great that we can each show that love in our own special way? We are so blessed to have the freedom to do so.
Happy Memorial Day.