Honoring Our Fallen Heroes. Memorial Day or Decoration Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.
Remembrance of American soldiers who have died in military service.
What is the history of Memorial Day?
Memorial Day is an official holiday in the United States. It was observed on May 30 until 1971, when for federal employees, the date was changed to the last Monday in May. It is also known as Decoration Day.
The custom of placing flowers on the graves of the war began on May 5, 1866, in Waterloo, NY, and Waterloo has been recognized by Congress as the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
In 1868, Gen. John Logan, then president of the Grand Army of the Republic, declared that May 30 would be a day to decorate the graves of comrades with “flowers who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.”
After World War I the day was set aside to honor all Americans who died in wars, then the custom was extended to pay tribute to deceased relatives and friends, both military and civilian.
The most solemn ceremony conducted on Memorial Day is the placing of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns located in Arlington national Cemetery. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and in any weather by Tomb Guard sentinels. Sentinels, all volunteers, are considered to be the best of the elite 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), headquartered at Fort Myer, Va. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknowns and why? 21 steps, It alludes to the twenty one gun salute which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.
Today we celebrate this day.
Many people see it as just a day off; a 3 day weekend. A reason to cook out and invite friends over, But for those who have lost someone because of war or military action, it means much more than a day off.
In fact, every American ought to recognize this day and honor those who gave their lives to make America what it is today—
Free, strong, and a nation worth fighting for.
Because men have died for this country, we have the right to preach God’s word freely.
We have the right to live at peace in our own homes.
We have the right to pursue peace, prosperity and happiness.
We need to thank God for those who died to make us free.
On Memorial Day we:
- Mourn the Loss.
- Remember the Lives.
- Are thankful for the Sacrifice.
As we prepare today to remember those who died for our country, it is important to remember the one who died to set us free from our sins.
Jesus fought the armies of Hell so that we might have liberty in his name.
Every week is a celebration of the Memorial of Christ.
Every Sunday is a memorial day for the Christian.
In light of Christ’s battle, let’s take a closer look at our memorial in Him as we recognize the likeness of our celebration of our military.
On Memorial Day we Mourn the Loss.
“How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14 (KJV)
As we mourn the loss of Christ, we realize that we are the guilty ones. And know that if there only be one sinner who was lost, He still would have died. His love is that great.
On Memorial Day we remember the Lives.
On the Road to Emmaus
“And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?” Luke 24:13-17 (KJV)
They stood still, their faces downcast.
“And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” Luke 24:18-25 (KJV)
Part of our emotional healing in the process of grief is to remember the lives of the loved one who has passed. The headstones we put on the graves are a testimony of who those people were.
Let me share with you some epitaphs I found.
- Gone So Soon.
- Dear Parents, though we will miss you much, we know you rest with God.
- Safe in the Arms of Jesus, Faithful Unto Death, Gone But Not Forgotten.
- Go Spirit, Go Thy Way. At Rest. Asleep in Jesus.
- The Lord Is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want-Life’s Work Well Done She Rests in Peace.
All of these messages tell us a little about the one who is buried under that headstone and how their remembered.
What must we remember about Jesus?
The answer is that He would like us to remember how He lived and what he taught through His life.
He set a example of how to live in love.
Our life should reflect that love.
On Memorial Day we Are thankful for the Sacrifice.
“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (KJV)
Christians, do not make light of this Memorial Feast. “We do this in remembrance of Him”
Let me illustrate with what I’ve heard is a true story. It was a few weeks before Christmas 1917. The beautiful snowy landscapes of Europe were blackened by war.
The trenches on one side held the Germans and on the other side the trenches were filled with Americans. It was World War I. The exchange of gunshots was intense. Separating them was a very narrow strip of no-man’s-land.
A young German soldier attempting to cross that no-man’s-land had been shot and had become entangled in the barbed wire. He cried out in anguish, then in pain he continued to whimper.
Between the shells all the Americans in that sector could hear him scream. When one American soldier could stand it no longer, he crawled to that German soldier. When the Americans realized what he was doing they stopped firing, but the Germans continued.
Then a German officer realized what the young American was doing and he ordered his men to cease firing. Now there was a weird silence across the no-man’s-land. On his stomach, the American made his way to that German soldier and disentangled him.
He stood up with the German in his arms, walked straight to the German trenches and placed him in the waiting arms of his comrades. Having done so, he turned and started back to the American trenches.
Suddenly there was a hand on his shoulder that spun him around. There stood a German officer who had won the Iron Cross, the highest German honor for bravery.
He jerked it from his own uniform and placed it on the American, who walked back to the American trenches.
Only when he was safely in the trenches, did they resume the insanity of war!
That German soldier was thankful for that American soldiers sacrifice.
On Memorial Day we:
- Mourn the Loss
- Remember the Lives
- Are Thankful for the Sacrifice
All the heroic acts done on the battlefields through history have made our country what it is today. We are free. We are wealthy and we are respected around the world.
I am proud to be an American and I have the luxuries of this country because men have died to give me what I have.
Similarly the price Jesus paid afforded us salvation. We have the promise of salvation and we did nothing to afford this luxury.
For this we must be thankful and thank an Almighty, Merciful, Gracious and Sovereign God!