And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4: 20-24; ESV
With Memorial Day approaching, many people will be gathering at various sites where memorials are erected to preserve the memory of some great event or great sacrifice has taken place. This practice has actually been going on since early biblical times. The passage shared gives an account of one such time. It was erected by Joshua at the command of the Lord God. Its purpose was to serve as a reminder to all people of the great and mighty things the Lord God has done for His people. Those acts of God brought deliverance from their enemies, brought them to the Promised Land, and gave strength and courage to those fighting for the freedom of Israel.
Why is it important to remember such things? Is it a sign of vanity? No, but it is a reminder to all who see it that not only something significant has taken place, but also it honors those who made this event take place. And it should be something that we should be doing today because there are MANY who have given so much in service to others that what we enjoy today as liberties and freedom that without their sacrifices, we wouldn’t have those liberties. The fact that we can worship freely, speak freely, live in a place where we have the choices we have all came at the cost and sacrifice of someone other than ourselves.
As Americans, we will come together to honor those men and women who died serving our country. Speeches will be made. Taps will be played. Prayers will be prayed. And hopefully those whose family members who survived will see that we appreciate the gifts their loved ones gave on our behalf. Only two groups of people can fully understand what Memorial Day truly means: the families of the fallen and the veterans who survived the battles their comrades didn’t. The average person can’t comprehend the GREAT SACRIFICE our military gives on a daily basis; along with our police, first responders and firefighters. And yet, if you were able to ask the fallen if they would do it again, they would do it all over again. And if you were to ask the veterans today would they fight for this nation and protect the freedoms and liberties we have, most of them would do it again. These veterans would even trade places with their fallen brothers and sisters if given the chance. Why? It is because they want everyone to have life and life abundantly.
Christians and believers have several memorials which we observe as reminders of great sacrifices God has made for us, that we can have spiritual freedoms from our enemy (sin) and to have the ability to come unto the Lord God: Christmas, Easter, the cross, the Lord’s Supper are just a few reminders of what God has given to us through His Son Jesus Christ. Without His death, there is no freedom from sin. Without Jesus, we have no liberties to come unto the Father. And without Jesus, we have no hope.
As Americans, we can’t take for granted that our freedoms and privileges that we enjoy today. Each one of these came with a price; the lives of the fallen. And it is right to remember them on Memorial Day because some gave their all for us. I personally don’t believe the average person understands that Memorial Day is more than just another day off and another chance to party; it is to remember those who gave their all. And like the passage shares, we should remind our children what these memorials stand for and who they honor. We need to tell them the stories of the battles fought for our liberties, the lives lost in those battles, and that war is not what its like on TV or movies. War is truly hell and our military marches, camps in, and fights in these hells to keep us safe and prosperous.
This Memorial Day, please take time to attend a service honoring our fallen brothers and sisters. Show your children the memorials erected and explain to them the honest truths about the sacrifices made for them. Introduce them to the surviving veterans and have them thank them for their service to their country and their God. And to the surviving family members they might encounter; have your children thank them for the sacrifice of their loved one.
On behalf of myself, my family, and a grateful America, thank you to all veterans and family members of those who gave so much for our freedoms and privileges. My God bless you and your families for all you offer.
For all of our brothers and sisters who have given their all and are now in Your presence, please bless them and honor them for their service unto our nation and unto You. We ask that You will bless their families they leave behind and help them in their time of loss. And finally, we pray that You will make America the one nation under God that it once was. Turn our eyes and hearts back to You. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.