Memorial Day is an annually observed federal holiday in the United States, which is held on the last Monday of May. It is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Some see it as the beginning of summer vacation or a good excuses to grill out, go to the lake or just enjoy a good time.
There is certainly nothing wrong with summer vacation, grilling out, going to the lake or enjoying a good time, and I believe that Memorial Day is a great day to do just that. But there were three things that grabbed me as I headed into this Memorial Day and I wanted to take just a moment to share them with you my friends.
The first thing was a movie I watched about General Dwight D. (Ike) Eisenhower, highlighting his service as the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe where he was charged with the task of planning and carrying out the allied assault – code-named “Operation Overlord” on the coast of Normandy, which would allow for the liberation of western Europe and the invasion of Germany.
I have had the privilege of being pastor and friend to several senior adult men who were a part of the D-Day Normandy Landings that happened on June 6, 1944 and remember from every one of our conversations the bravery and patriotism that I heard in their voices as I listened to their stories and the stories of their fallen brothers.
This movie and those conversations reminded me of all the lives that have been so willingly given, so that I/we might enjoy the freedoms that we so often take for granted.
The second thing that got to me, was conversations with some of my breakfast buddies. They are the still living heroes from Europe, France, Germany, Korea, Vietnam and The Gulf! They are normal everyday men and women who fear God, love their country and enjoy life. Almost every one of them know and served with others who gave their lives and each of them was willing to give their lives if necessary.
Along with these friends are a number of younger friends, some have been in my children and youth ministries, some have been a part of my church family. These young men and women are serving all over the world and with the same attitude of sacrifice as those who have gone before. I can’t help but think of them and pray for their safety.
The third thing that got me was a simple cartoon. A cartoon of a little boy asking his Dad how much the Memorial Day cookout cost? Here it is:
Stop today and think about those who gave and those who give, so that we might enjoy the freedom to enjoy this great place we live known as The United States Of America. May God bless us all!