Have you ever been to Arlington National Cemetery? Have you ever had a chance to see the pride of the men and women who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? Have you seen the meticulous care that the country puts into this hallowed ground? Have you had the privilege of standing in the background and watching the precision that soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen put into military funerals? It is a sight to behold. It is moving!
A brief history
This is a small glimpse of what became Memorial Day in the US. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, “Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans—the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)—established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.” May 30th was the date selected to remember those graves because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
Memorial Day is right around the corner. I am thankful our country takes a day to remember fallen warriors. I’m thankful that our nation remembers the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
Sacrifice, honor, and celebration
I have friends that I will never forget on Memorial Day. Men like Larry Barnard who gave his life in the invasion of Panama. Men like Dominic Pilla who died protecting me in Somalia. Men like Kris Stonesifer and John Edmunds who were the first two American warriors killed on the ground during the Global War on Terrorism. Men like my friend, Aaron Weaver, who convinced Army doctors to let him go to war with his unit even though he had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and was later killed in Iraq while flying away for a cancer checkup.
I don’t grieve when I remember these men on Memorial Day, I rejoice. I rejoice that God created warriors like them. I rejoice that military families were willing to make this kind of sacrifice. I rejoice that God gave me the privilege to serve with my heroes.
I hope you remember on Memorial Day. I hope it’s more than just a day off work. I hope it’s a day to cherish what is most valuable: faith, family, and freedom.
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