On this Memorial Day 2015, I am reminded of three important things:
- Those historic men and women who gave up their lives for our freedom.
- Those who are standing for freedom around the world today.
- And finally I cannot forget Christ, who has won freedom for us through His death, burial, and resurrection.
For the United States, Memorial Day, is a holiday (“holy day”) set apart to remember and honor those who have paid the ultimate price by giving their lives in battle for our/their nation, its values, and virtues. It is also a day to reflect on the freedom that their life and death passed on to us. While this is an American “holy day,” honoring and remembering the sacrifice of its citizens applies to every nation where individuals have given up their lives for the freedom of others.
I am reminded of the Civil War (and the original Declaration Day) in the United States, resulting in a unification of States in our nation and the emerging of freedom for slaves. The First and Second World Wars brought about the ending of the Holocaust of the Jewish people and freedom for many nations in Europe (after thirteen million Europeans, including six million Jews, died.) The end of these wars also created a new era of valuing lives that were mentally or otherwise physically impaired, who had been devalued and eliminated by the Nazi regime.
These courageous individuals believed that every human has the inalienable right for freedom from tyranny, dictatorship, oppression, persecution, and silencing. These courageous stood for freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, freedom of religion, freedom to own a home, land, and a business. My list is short. They fought for so much more.
I’m reminded of the war in Vietnam and the stand that thousands of young men took against an oppressive regime. I’m reminded of the freedom fighters who finally defeated Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, ending the genocide in that country that had lasted from 1975-1979 (in which two million were killed). And, I remember the individuals who defeated the rebellion in Rwanda ending the genocide between the Hutu’s and the Tutsi’s in 1994 (where over one million died). My list of remembering is again short and incomplete—I know I am not remembering other wars and conflicts where lives were bravely, and perhaps not so bravely, sacrificed.
Please help me remember!
Remembering is a global community affair because even now, many of our friends around the world are facing similar challenges and battles. I’m very aware of the threat that the people of Ukraine are facing from Russian aggression. Many countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa are being terrorized by ISIS and radical Islam. In each nation there are those who stand and/or fight for freedom no matter how painful, devastating, or costly.
This Memorial Day reminds me of valor, courage, sacrifice, and loss. We must remember the people who gave us freedom and paid the price for freedom. During this “holiday” with its cookouts, flags, and graveyard visits I step away from these family activities and find myself totally humbled. It is hard to comprehend how I can effectively thank these individuals/freedom fighters enough for their sacrifice. How could we possibly thank them enough?
So, on this day, please pause with me and remember those individuals all over the world who represent freedom and were willing to give everything up so that we can all experience freedom today.
Let’s also remember our Lord and Savior who has won for us the ultimate freedom for eternity. Freedom from sin and death, and freedom to truly live. We have so much to be thankful for!