Memorial Day: We Remember and We Honor
It’s doubly meaningful for me to write these words several days before Memorial Day. Last Sunday Lynn and I delivered our son, Mark, Jr., to Fort Gillem and he shipped to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for BCT, that’s Basic Combat Training, in the United States Army. Memorial Day (and its accompanying weekend) is a time to remember and honor persons who paid the ultimate price, as President Lincoln phrased it, in battle. Initially, it was to honor and remember those who died in the Civil War, but with the South rejecting that notion for many years, it wasn’t until 1971 that Congress passed it into law to remember and honor all persons who died in all military conflicts.
I’m sure some of you have family members or close friends who died serving our country. Today, we remember and we honor them. And today, I want to say Thank You also to Mark Jr. and all the men and women who have served or are this very moment actively serving our country in the Armed Services. Remembering and thanking God for them is what Memorial Day is for.
Here are two popular poems that help us remember and never forget:
In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae, 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky the larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved and were loved, and now
we lie in Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.
We Shall Keep the Faith, by Moina Michael, 1918 (excerpt)
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields, sleep sweet-- to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw, and holding high, we keep the Faith
with all who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red that grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies that blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red of the flower that blooms above the dead
in Flanders Fields.
Today we remember, honor, and give thanks. Have a safe and blessed Memorial Day weekend.
Your pastor and Friend, Mark