What do you have planned for this Memorial Day weekend?
It’s easy and normal to fire up the grill, get together with friends and loved ones, and eat some great food. If we’re lucky (like this year), we may even enjoy some warm summer-like weather and many will head to the beach.
But what is Memorial Day really about?
History.com describes Memorial day as, “the official beginning of summer and America’s most solemn occasion”, a somewhat interesting juxtaposition of celebrations.
According to their website, here’s a brief summary of the history of our Memorial Day celebration:
“Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.”
There is also an informative and contemplative video on the same page, which you may like to view for more details.
So while it’s good and important to spend quality time with friends and family, and healthy to rest and relax, let’s take a little time this weekend to stop and consider the cost of this freedom we enjoy.
Let’s meditate on the price that was paid by the men and women who served and paid with their lives, so that we can enjoy our lives in peace and security.
Let’s remember those whose families are missing loved ones today, so that we can spend the day with those we love.
And let’s thank God for our country, which though imperfect, is still one of the best places on earth to live.
Take in a Memorial Day parade which will help to focus your thoughts on the true meaning of the holiday. Watch one of many video clips which bring honor to those who sacrificed for us. Or just take some quiet time to reflect.
I like this simple cartoon, which really says it all:
While we’re at it, we can be thankful for those who still serve today to help keep our country peaceful. We can pray for the ones who served and returned, but left a piece of themselves in the trenches or on the battlefield.
We can take this one step further (or perhaps I should say, “closer”), and take some time to be thankful to all those around us for all they do to add quality and enjoyment to our days, such as family and close friends. We can show appreciation to those who support and protect us in a myriad of ways, such as our pastors, teachers, doctors & nurses, and all those who wear a uniform that represents any kind of service.
The ultimate sacrifice was made by One who paid the price for my sin and offered his Son for my eternal freedom.
I agree with the sentiment that “freedom isn’t free”.
So as we enjoy this weekend with those we love, let’s take time to stop and remember what it cost.