Thursday, May 26, 2016

Remember Our Fallen Heroes

As a school girl growing up in Alaska, I remember creating posters for a contest to commemorate the sacrifice of the fallen heroes of our wars. Then on May 30, we celebrated Memorial Day with a parade on the streets of downtown Juneau. Row after row of veterans in uniforms marched by to the beat of John Philip Sousa.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, originated in 1868 when General John Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued an order for every military post to hold suitable exercises and decorate the graves of the Civil War dead. In 1873, the veterans' organization in New York persuaded the state legislature to make May 30 a public holiday to commemorate the war dead. With the passing of history, the last Monday of May has been designated as a day for remembering all our dead.

When we remember the dead, what are we remembering?
  1. Our Founding Fathers for their work in building up this great nation
  2. The fallen heroes of all wars for preserving the United States as a free land
  3. Our parents and grandparents for the sacrifices they made to rear us and provide for us and equip us for life
Many people throughout history have worked hard, fought wars, and brought up children, so why is America so blessed? Because of God. If any nation should remember God, it is the United States of America. His hand was evident in our founding, and He has blessed us exceedingly.

In spite of all the difficulties we face as a country, we are still the most prosperous nation in the
world. This Memorial Day let's thank God for our blessings.

When we think of God's blessings, our material blessings often come to mind first. The most important blessing, however, is our freedom, especially our religious freedom.

My own Huguenot ancestors fled persecution and martyrdom in 17th Century France and came to America seeking religions freedom. They settled in what is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and named their town "Paradise" because they had finally found the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience.

Who should we remember most of all this Memorial Day? 

Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." John 15:13. Our war dead laid down their lives that we might continue to have freedom. Someone who died for us that we might really live is Jesus Christ. The death of our loved ones and our soldiers often bring many questions, but Jesus' death brought us only answers. His death bought us liberty, true liberty.

What is true liberty?
  • Liberty that is not hindered by prison bars
  • Liberty that does not depend on the strength of our military 
  • Liberty that does not depend on the value of the dollar or the availability of oil 
  • His death gives us more than liberty; it bought us eternal life. 
  • Jesus won the most important battle of all. He conquered sin and death for us.
In commemoration of the 200th birthday of our nation in 1976, Neil Enloe, of The Couriers, wrote a song, "Statue of Liberty," in which he compared the Cross of Christ to the Statue of Liberty (The Original Couriers sing "Statue of Liberty"):

The Cross is my Statue of Liberty;
It was there that my soul was set free.
As the Statue liberates the citizen,
So the Cross liberates the soul.

This Memorial Day, let's remember our friends, our relatives, and our war heroes who have died. Let's remember too the way God has blessed our land, our nation, our lives.

Let's celebrate Jesus who has bought us true liberty.

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