Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Memorial Day is an American holiday observed the last Monday in May. It is a day to remember men and women who died while serving in the military. May we never forget to honor these special people who have given their lives for our country!
Unfortunately, many of us have allowed this holiday to become merely a three-day weekend with a reason for a picnic. This year, large picnic gatherings are being discouraged because of the continued need for social distancing caused by COVID-19. I challenge all of us to take more time to remember those who have died for our nation.
The history of Memorial Day is complex and includes many myths – some true and some false. However, we do know that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. It was started following the Civil War. The graves of those who lost their lives during this war were decorated with flowers. Soldiers were remembered.
The reason for this holiday was a war fought on our soil. However, most wars taking the lives of our military men and women have been fought on foreign land. We can go back as far as World Wars I and II. Or, we can remember more current wars as the Iraqi War and ongoing battles in countries like Afghanistan. Currently, we are engaged in a different type of warfare – a medical war. It is fought throughout our homeland as well as around the world.
Today, I want to pay tribute to those who have become warriors during this medical war. Too many soldiers (patients) have lost their lives during their personal battle with the coronavirus. The statistics continue to change regarding the number of lives lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many new graves in cemeteries. Some bodies have not yet been buried. We weep with the families who have lost loved ones.
Additional soldiers have fought the fight and conquered the disease. With them, we shout hallelujah! Others are still in the midst of the battle trying to overcome the virus’ affects upon their bodies. As these warriors fight for their next breath, we breathe a prayer to God for their healing.
Our medical militia is huge. Staffs of hospitals and nursing homes are soldiers who line up for duty every day. We salute doctors, nurses, aides, cleaning workers, etc. Also on the front lines are our first responders. We express our thanks to these workers who place themselves in harm’s way!
As we approach Memorial Day, let us focus upon its purpose and meaning. Maybe we should think about this holiday’s original name – Decoration Day. Decorate the graves of those who have served in our United States military. Honor both the living and the dead. Place wreaths upon the graves of loved ones who have gone before us whether they served in our Armed Forces or not.
Elevation Worship has recorded the worship song Graves into Gardens. One line of the lyrics says, “You (God) turn graves into garden.” Ultimately, God is the One who truly turns graves into gardens. However, let us turn cemetery graves into floral gardens. It is an honor to recognize those who have given their lives for our nation. It is a privilege to remember our heritage.