Unfortunately, many have come to see Memorial Day as merely the official beginning of summer. Certainly, the day traditionally coincides with the ending of the school year, but doesn’t Memorial Day mean much more than vacation time and sun and fun? It is a day that is designated in honor of those who have given their lives in defense of our nation and our liberties.
One of the things I hold most dear in life is my relationship to two men who served in our nation’s Armed Forces. My dad served 20 years in the United States Navy. In fact, when I was born, he was a part of the crew of the U.S.S. Halsey, a guided-missile frigate assigned to the Pacific Fleet during the days of the Vietnam War. For much of my growing-up years, he served as a recruiter for the Navy in Lubbock, Texas. My grandfather was in the United States Army, serving during World War II in New Guinea and the Philippines. He was seriously wounded in combat in 1944, and was awarded the Purple Heart.
Today, society makes heroes out of a lot of people: athletes, rock stars, actors, and the like. But, the real heroes are those men and women who put their lives on the line for the benefit of others and those who serve a cause greater than self. Jesus said it most clearly, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15.13).
On this Memorial Day, remember those who have sacrificed all they had so that we might live in freedom today. Enjoy the time spent with family and friends. Enjoy the fun. Enjoy the sun. But, let us never forget those who have fallen, those who have served.