Memorials are a familiar concept in our society today. It is human nature to want to mark-off significant events in our lives in such a way as to remember them for a lifetime. We see physical monuments constructed at the sites of tragedy, where there is great losses of life. We also see physical monuments constructed at the sites of triumph, where there is significant human accomplishment. Upon the death of a loved one, family members may leave memorial gifts in order to remember and celebrate the causes and passions their loved one cared so much about. God’s Word reinforces this concept of remembrance. Upon the crossing of the Jordan River, a symbol of entering a new phase of God’s plan for Israel, Joshua made the following statement in Joshua 4:4-7, “Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance. It is a day set aside to remember our service men and women down through the centuries who have given their lives in the pursuit of the freedoms that we as Americans enjoy today. Today should be a day when we stop and reflect on the sacrifices of those who held our values and principles high enough to lay down their lives for. The sacrifices of our military are great. They are selfless and humble. Their lives remind us of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us. He willingly gave His life for those who may never appreciate or embrace it. John 15:13 tell us, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”. Take time today to remember and reflect on those whose lives were given for our freedom and for the Life that was given for our redemption.
Today is Veteran’s Day. It is the day set aside to honor and recognize all the men and women who have served in the armed forces. Veterans Day originally began as Armistice Day. Armistice Day celebrated the signing of the armistice, or peace agreement, between the Allies and Germany that brought to an end the major hostilities of the First World War. These hostilities ended on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first holiday for November 11, 1919. On that day he said, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.” Armistice Day was later changed to Veterans Day in 1954. Since the change, all veterans from all services and campaigns are recognized and honored.
Our service members sacrifice a great deal in the defense of our country. They sacrifice their personal comfort. Living conditions are not always ideal. From spending weeks in the field training to enduring extreme hot and colds in locations around the world, comfort is not always a priority. Our service members also sacrifice their families to some extent. Multiple deployments and extended training times pull our service members away from the ones they love. In some cases, a year or more. They miss important family dates (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.) and miss seeing their children grow up. More than anything else, they sacrifice themselves. Our service members expose themselves to not only physical harm, but emotional and mental trauma as well. The images of war are everlasting and life-changing. Our soldiers not only come home physically hurt, but mentally scarred as well.
On this Veterans Day, I would like to simply say “Thank You” to every Soldier, Marine, Seaman, Airman, and National Guardsman who has given a part of themselves in defense of the country we love so much. You and your family are appreciated more than words can express. If you enjoy the ability to come and go as you like, work where you wish, worship in the place you choose, freely and without restriction, thank a veteran. If you enjoy being able to participate in the democratic process, speak in opposition to government officials, vote, and even question why our military is fighting, thank a veteran. They fight so that we may enjoy personal freedoms.
Across the nation today, Americans are celebrating Memorial Day. Each one celebrates in a different way. Some celebrate through family picnics and cookouts. Some celebrate by spending the day at the beach. Regardless of how we celebrate, it is the sacrifice of the millions of our military who have given us the ability to enjoy life as we know it. To all of our veterans, veteran’s families, and active duty military I say “thank you” for you service.
I have posted a video below that tells the story of what we are celebrating today better than any words. Please take time and watch it. The sacrifice of our military men and women giving their lives for our freedom can only be paralleled with the price Jesus Christ paid for our freedom. Enjoy.