Memorial Day weekend, the official kickoff to summer! Woo hoo! I think we all feel a renewed sense of hope as we are free to gather in person this year, and there’s a sense that we somehow need to make up for last year by making it extra special.
But this weekend is much more than the launch of summer. Like so many things in our lives, the true meaning of this holiday can get lost in the picnic planning and the daily distractions of life.
Memorial Day is a day where we as a nation are asked to pause and remember those who laid down their lives and gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
I did a little research and discovered that Memorial Day was originally called “Decoration Day.” It was begun in 1868 after the bloody Civil War, a war that nearly destroyed our great nation. It was a day to decorate the graves of the fallen. It didn’t become a national holiday until 1971.
As I think about all that’s happened in our country and our world this past year, it’s been a year of great division. It felt like the beginnings of a civil war at times. There have been battles on city streets. We have felt divided on countless political and social issues. We have felt unrest rise to new levels.
But in spite of all that, we still have freedom.
I will spend Memorial Day where I have for many years now. I will be singing at a Memorial Day ceremony at a local cemetery. It’s always incredibly powerful and moving. It’s hosted by local Veterans, and it’s given me a great appreciation for what this day is really about. Every year they do a 21-Gun Salute and play Taps, and my eyes can’t help but well up with tears.
I always leave that ceremony with a renewed appreciation for the freedom we have in this great land of ours. We aren’t perfect by any means, but we are free. Men and women have died to give us that freedom, and it’s only right that we take a moment to say a prayer of thanks for their extreme sacrifice.
Remembering helps us appreciate what we have, as imperfect as it is.
Remembering opens up our hearts to be inspired and encouraged by how far we really have come, even if we haven’t yet reached the goal.
Remembering honors the bravery and sacrifice that paved the way to where we are now.
Remembering chooses to say we will not forget or take for granted the blood that was shed to allow us live as free people.
As I think about our earthly freedom, I can’t help but think about the ultimate freedom we have in Christ. But let’s cover that subject next week.
For now, I pray you take a moment this weekend to cherish the freedom we have here in America. On Monday, I pray you take a little extra time to stop and remember the ones who defended your freedom with the sacrifice of their lives.
Have a blessed weekend, my friend, and celebrate with the ones you love as you live out your freedom!
Hugs and love,