IN MEMORY OF

Normally I write on issues affecting writing, but today I want to take the opportunity to speak on the subject of Memorial Day.

All to often people confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day. Veterans Day honors ALL who have SERVED in the military since the founding of our nation. Speaking as a veteran, this is an important day when we honor the living and the dead who have served this nation.

But Memorial Day is not only important but it has special significance. This day honors ALL who have MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE – they gave their lives! So as you enjoy this day, perhaps picnicking or some other family affair, remember the dead that have fallen.

I recently read of a black lady who was angry and would not even honor the Declaration of Independence because it was written by white men, some of whom owned slaves. This is a case of judging the past by today’s morals – always a mistake. But her greater error is that the very freedom that she has to honor or dishonor men and women of the past was gained by the sacrifices – in many cases the sacrifice of life – of white men. Everyone of us owes a debt to the men and women who sacrificed their lives for freedom.

The understanding of what that freedom really means has evolved over time. Sometimes that understanding required violence, as in the case of the Civil War. While it was not fought over the issue of slaves as some believe, it resulted in the freeing of all slaves and redefined freedom as being for all men and women. And it came at a huge cost to mostly white men.

Even that has changed. Now we can celebrate our freedoms because white, black, yellow, and red men and women have given their lives in its defense. And on Memorial Day we need to pause and remember the terrific cost that protecting our nation has exacted.

Although Memorial Day is a National Holiday, I, as a Christian, also remember the men and women of all races and nationalities who have lost their lives because they were Christians. This is still occurring today with no end in sight. Not in the United States to a large degree, although that may be changing, but throughout the world.

But nationally we need to remember that Memorial Day is not just another holiday. The greatness of this country was paid for by the blood of those who have fallen. It should cause us to reflect on the values, yes moral values, that they died for! Moral values that we are losing almost daily. More and more we see people, including our leaders, calling that which is good “evil” and that which is evil “good.” (See Isa. 5:20.)

But we have a God Who can right all wrongs. As Christians we need to follow II Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”


R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several Christian fiction novels plus other books. He is also co-founder and Vice President of TR Independent Books. He can be reached at information@rfrederickriddle.com.

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Vacation: Opportunity to Research Book

Vacation: Opportunity to Research Book

The idea for this blog came as my wife and I have been planning a vacation. Usually when we think of vacation it is fun and relaxation, but when we think of researching a book it is hard work.

 While on the face of it the two are not compatible, they can actually work together. One of the things most vacationers like to do is take pictures, both still and video. And one of the tools used for research is pictures. And there you have the connection.

Almost any genre can be researched when on a vacation. Here in the south there are many vacation spots where we could research geography, history or simply the local flavor of a town. Come to think about it, that’s not just the south, it is anywhere.

 For example, one of our favorite vacations was St. Augustine, Florida. This city is loaded with history and geography. The city claims to be the oldest city in America, has a 17th century fort, founded by Ponce De Leon, and so much more history. Plus lots of geography.

 When visiting a place like that you want to take a lot of pictures. Not to be filed away in a closet, but as potential story lines or at least background material. And you do this while having a good time!

 I don’t know if one of us will some day write a story that takes place in St. Augustine, but we could.

 Another source is brochures. These are usually packed with information that can tickle your imagination. Plus, there is the experience itself of walking the streets, visiting the various historical buildings, and seeing the city.

 All of these take place on a vacation and are potential research material for future stories.

 But, you say, I’m not planning t write on the place we’re going to vacation at. Doesn’t matter. You might change your mind, in which case if you took the pictures and picked up the brochures you have a gold mine of information.

 Or you might use the material for some other real or imaginary place!

 The simplicity is amazing! You actually do research while enjoying yourself. Instead of hours on the computer you see, feel, and smell the facts that may be just the nugget that fires up your imagination!

 So use your vacation as a research tool.


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