I try not to be guilty of flaunting my ignorance, but I recently did so in a conversation with a friend. We were discussing, of all things, the importance of Memorial Day. In the spirit of revolting against meaningless traditions (which, you'll admit, do exist in the trappings of American life), we both casually shrugged off Memorial Day as another excuse for grilling hamburgers and taking trips to the lake. (And has anybody else walked up their driveway to get the mail, only to feel like an idiot when the empty mailbox reminds you that, hey, it's another government holiday?)
But I was wrong. While Memorial Day may seem to be a generic re-run of July 4th, it isn't.
Since its establishment as a national holiday on May 5, 1868 (under the name of Decoration Day, due to the fact that observers decorated the graves of dead soldiers with flowers), Memorial Day has been the herald of heroes who loved their freedom, their country, and their families more than life. Their courage and sacrifice give us the freedom to grill those hamburgers and take trips to the lake and grumble when the national postal service decides to take a day off.
We're remiss if we just glaze over the holiday with red-white-and-blue tablecloths and potlucks. The very, very, VERY least we can do is pause and thank God for the heroes that lived and died for the United States of America.
To all the families who have lost loved ones in the fight for freedom: thank you. To all the heroes who fought long and hard and survived to share the victory in this life: thank you.
John 15:13 says it best: " There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." Happy Memorial Day!
(For more information on the history of Memorial Day, check out this site: http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp).