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 firstname.lastname@example.org.