(Reader: I wrote today’s blog a week before I planned to post it and now I feel like I need to add a preface to what I want to share. i remember has additional meaning for me since the tornado hit the Oklahoma area, especially the town of Moore, this past Monday. Reader, you and I need to remember to pray for the people who have lost family members and homes and so much more. The one thing they have not lost is their faith in God and their ability to help each other. As Memorial Day arrives in Oklahoma, many people will be saying i remember with their own personal stories. May “i remember” not only be a phrase but an action for each of us regarding those affected by this natural disaster. May each of us say i remember with the people of Oklahoma today, Monday and many days to follow. Now, the following is what I wrote for this week.)
MEMORIAL DAY: i remember observing this day as a child much differently than we celebrate it today. We were up early in the morning so we could get to the cemetery to put flowers on the graves of loved ones before the special Memorial Day Service was held in the cemetery. With flowers and wreaths on most gravesites and small flags waving in the breeze over the graves of military men and women, the cemetery was a beautiful sight. When I was in the school band, we always marched from the high school auditorium, through the town, and up to the cemetery. We would march to the beat of the drums until we entered the cemetery grounds and then the drummers would only keep beat by quietly tapping their sticks on the rim of their drums. It was a solemn and sacred ceremony. As a band, we played such songs as “Nearer My God to Thee.” Names were read of all those who had served in the military and were now buried in this particular cemetery. One of the pastors of a local church gave a message, the Gettysburg Address was spoken, and taps were played by a trumpeter. During the rest of the day, other relatives who had come to place flowers on the graves of their family members might stop by our home to visit. It was a day of remembering not only military heroes but also family members who had died.
MEMORIAL DAY: i remember this day historically as being a day set aside to honor those who died serving in the United States Armed Forces. According to Wikipedia, Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers who had died during the American Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women who died in any war or military action. This holiday was originally known as Decoration Day and the current name did not come into use until after World War II. This commemoration used to be held on May 30, regardless of the day of the week, until 1968. Personally, I do not want to forget the true meaning of this day nor do I want to forget the lives that have been lost for the freedom of the United States of America!
MEMORIAL DAY: i remember another life and sacrifice as I reflect upon the meaning of the holiday we will celebrate on Monday. The life I am referring to is the life of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice I am referring to is Jesus dying upon the cross for the forgiveness of oursins making it possible for you and me to have everlasting life. Luke 22 records the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples before His crucifixion and the meaning he gave to the bread and the wine at this Passover meal. Luke 22:19-20 says, “And He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.’” This is the way Jesus wants me to remember His purpose of coming to earth, and He wants me to do this as a memorial. However, these words are not only for Memorial Day, but anytime that I celebrate communion with the body of Christ.
MEMORIAL DAY: i remember these solemn and sacred ways of remembering memories. It saddens me to see how selfish I and our nation have become towards the observance of Memorial Day, or Decoration Day, as it was formerly known. Yes, it should be a federal holiday because it is a time for our nation to honor the living and the dead of our military forces. However, Memorial Day has become less of an occasion of remembrance and more of a reason to have picnics and do outside projects. The fact that the date of observance has been changed to the last Monday of the month and not on the day of May 30 shows that we are more concerned about the convenience of a long weekend off from work or school than a day to give thanks for those who have put their lives in harm‘s way to protect us and our nation. It also saddens me as to how complacent our nation has become towards what Jesus has done for us personally and as a nation. If we believe what we say in our Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag that we are “one nation, under God,” then we need to remember what God has done for us and allow Him to still lead our nation.
So, my Reader, how are you going to celebrate Memorial Day, May 27, 2013? I hope you will take time to remember the true meaning of this day. Remember the lives that were lost for you and our nation. Remember the lives of loved ones who have gone before you and have set an example for how we are to live our lives today. Remember the best example set forth through the life of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He gave so that you and I can live not only today but eternally.
Happy Memorial Day!