As the daughter and granddaughter of Marines, Memorial Day was never just about BBQ’s and going to the beach. From a young age, I realized that Memorial Day was important because it honored those who served, and as I grew older I realized it was not just for those who served but for those who paid the ultimate price in giving their lives to provide me with freedom. Unfortunately, for most, it’s a day that rarely lives up to its name as most people spend it celebrating the present, rather than remembering the price that was paid in the past.
However, remembering is important. I’ve learned over the last year that it’s more important than perhaps I previously realized. While the old adage that those who are prone to forget the lessons of the past are bound to repeat its mistakes is certainly true, it is not only for the sake of a better future that it is important to remember. We remember because in doing so we bridge the gap between the past and the present. In remembering, we understand what is worth celebrating today. In remembering, we acknowledge that we didn’t get to where we are on our own.
Over the last year, my memories have centered around my dad as I try to cling to things that were seemingly innocuous when they happened, but now have special meaning. I try to remember the jokes he told, the songs he sang, and the lessons he gave. Not only because I treasure these things about him, but because they shaped who I am today. I reflect upon the type of man he was because in doing so, I not only honor him, I also remind myself of the the type of spouse, employee, parent and leader that I hope I can someday be.
And it’s for similar reasons that it’s so important to remember those who gave it all for the freedoms we enjoy. In doing so, we help spur in ourselves similar proclivities and habits. And even if we are never called to sacrifice our life for our country, for the Christian we have all been called to be willing to sacrifice for our neighbor. And if you think about it, that’s exactly what the men and women we honor on Memorial Day did.
So let us not cease to remember. Let us not forget the sacrifice of many that have provided us with political freedom, and the sacrifice of One who provided us with freedom from Hell. And in remembering, may God work to bring about the same spirit of sacrifice in ourselves.