Today is Memorial Day in the United States. For those of you who are readers from countries outside the US, let me explain what this day means to us. This is a holiday (now a Federal holiday where most stores, businesses and banks are closed) that is celebrated on the last Monday in May to honor those who have died in any military service. Its origins go back to the years after our terrible civil war in the mid-1800’s when our country wanted to remember the hundreds of thousands of our men who died supporting their cause either from the North or the South.
No one really knows where this day originally became celebrated, but we know it started out being Decoration Day because thousands would arrive at Arlington National Cemetery to decorate the gravestones of fallen soldiers. After the US came through World War 1, the day became a Federal Holiday, celebrated by both the North and the South and was named Memorial Day.
For information about Memorial Day, you can visit this site: Memorial Day History
My family, sadly, has no military background. No one that I know on either side of my family has served in the armed forces. While that provides us with a sense of security that we are never going to get “that visit” where fellow soldiers appear at your door to give you the dreaded news that your loved one has died in service to their country, it also disconnects us from the reality of the cost of service. Most families are disconnected from this cost – the cost during and after a loved signs up for military service and the cost of surviving their death.
Today, many Americans will be firing up the barbecue grills, inviting friends over or simply enjoying a relaxing additional day off. Most of us will not really be considering what it is like for our military personnel to give their lives for our country and for our freedom. We won’t be thinking about the physical pain they endured, the mental anguish of knowing that they were leaving their families behind to mourn them, the emotional turmoil of battle and the fear of death that they had to push aside to execute their mission.
I pray today that all of us reading this post will take three minutes to ponder what battle is like, to meditate on the bravery and valor that was needed for our soldiers to perform their duties and the cost of the loss of their lives to their families. Please allow your emotions and imagination to conjure up the depth of the reality that our soldiers endured and their families continue to endure.
Our soldiers are worth three minutes of your day today. And if you’re reading this post after Memorial Day, you can still participate. There is never a bad time to show honor. Thank you.
Father God, thank you that You endued our soldiers with the bravery, the courage and the fortitude to stand their post even until death. Thank you for keeping our country safe and for providing us with the men and women who support and maintain our freedom in ways that we can never fully comprehend. We ask for Your hand to be upon those in service today, for wisdom, intelligence, insight, courage and safety. Please help us, Lord, never to take our soldiers for granted or become apathetic to the freedom that they purchased for us with their lives. Amen.