Why Memorial Day?
Why Memorial dAy? May 31, 2021. Just some musings about why I value a set-apart day called Memorial Day. It is so much more than the reason for a long weekend! Memorial Day - a day set aside in the United States of American for the purpose of stopping to consider the costs, to remember the sacrifices made by men and women for 246 years.
I am so thankful to be an American, thankful for the freedoms our country has enjoyed for 245 years. Because my son, Danny, is in school in Boston, I have been afforded the opportunity to visit again and again the sites where hard-fought battles were won for our freedom. I never forget. That royal battle at the end of the 18th century, fought on our soil, the Revolutionary War is what captured our independence. 6800. That’s how many Americans died in combat, but wait-- 6,100 were wounded and upwards of 20,000 were taken prisoner. Historians believe that at least an additional 17,000 deaths were the result of disease, including about 8,000–12,000 who died while prisoners of war.1 Perhaps statistics are numbing to you, but if your son or daughter was amongst them, I assure they would not be. We live in a day that wants to revise our great hard-won history which makes me devastatingly sad. Do not get me wrong--I know that not every patriot was morally pure, not every skirmish righteous--slavery was criminal, and yet ours has been the best experiment in freedom ever. When I walk past the grave of Samuel Adams on Tremont Street in downtown Boston, recalling he was one of the five who drafted these words: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…2 Gratitude swells in my heart. I make a choice to remember the freedom we enjoy was not free for all. As a matter of fact, many paid the ultimate price - with their lives. Please do not buy the lies of revisionist history. Ours is a courageous past ~ ours is a benevolent legacy of a country that has come to the aid of more repressed countries and disadvantaged people groups than any other in the history of the world. Call me smarmy (overly sentimental) if you will, but I remember the first time I viewed the Statue of Liberty from New York Harbor waters. Tears ran down my face as I thought of how many people had streamed into America in search of freedom. This plaque at her feet captures it well: Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!3 Stop and thank God for America’s past, be a part of standing for truth and freedom on her shores now. One more thing: the freedom I enjoy in Jesus Christ was not free either. By choice, in order that we might be made right with him and enjoy him forever, he paid the ultimate price. No, the freedom we enjoy in Christ wasn’t free either - it cost Jesus everything. Thank God for freedom because no matter where you are in this great wide world, In Jesus Christ, you are free. As Paul so eloquently but succinctly wrote, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”4 Happy Memorial Day - I celebrate your Freedom! Watch this - it is fantastic - oh, not musically, but inspirationally. I dare you to watch it with out tearing up. God bless our military. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjZ_IlP9c5A. I love it so! But because I love this so - here's another, a little more God and country: Thanks, Lee Greenwood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwEcz9nABNg With love, Christine 1 - https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/american-revolution-faqs 2 - the beautiful Declaration of Independence - https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript 3 - “New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, https://www.howtallisthestatueofliberty.org/what-is-the-quote-on-the-statue-of-liberty/ 4 - Romans 8.1-2