How was your Memorial Day? Did you enjoy a three-day weekend or a get-together of some sort? Maybe you wore your special patriotic shirt for the day or made your famous strawberry pie to kick off the summer. (Sounds like a good day to me!)
Along with all these fun things, I hope you were also able to slow down. To remember. To honor those who gave all so we could live our lives in freedom.
Memorial Day is personal to my family. We gather almost every year to attend the local service at the cemetery. Each year, my grandpa, who served in the Navy in World War Two and never slows down to this day, stands up front in uniform and participates in the traditional three-volley salute before Taps is played, echoing its haunting, beautiful tune across every ear and every grave.
Now that my kids are 15, 13, and 11, they don’t ask about the tears in my eyes anymore. They don’t have to. It’s expected. And it’s understood. They’ve heard my reasons before…and before that…and before that.
They understand that my dad’s oldest brother, David, was shot and killed serving with the Marines in Vietnam. They understand that he decided it was his duty to fight for freedom and that he died with honor. (Yes, this was a messy war, but its intent was worthy, and the soldiers who served will always have my honor and respect.)
My kids understand that my grandpa joined up during WW2 to fight for freedom. To stop the bad guys. He made it home alive, but his sacrifices were great overall—especially the sacrifice of his oldest son (David) as he died fighting against communism in South Vietnam.
They know my other grandpa fought in Korea, having to leave his new wife behind, pregnant with their first child. He made it home alive, but missed the birth and all the “firsts” that came with raising their first baby because he was off fighting hard for other people’s freedoms.
My kids understand that one of their other dear great uncles fought hard in Vietnam, though he did make it home in one piece. They know his sacrifices include living through painful experiences there as he fought for freedom.
They know that war is monstrous, but freedom is a cause worth fighting for. They know that soldiers are brave and worthy of gratitude and respect.
My kids know that when my eyes fill with tears, as they do every single Memorial Day without fail, it’s because my heart is too full of gratitude, appreciation, and memories to keep it inside. America truly is the land of the free and the home of the brave, and only by remembering and teaching upcoming generations these truths will it remain so.
How do the children in your life view Memorial Day? Do they slow down in between hotdogs and popsicles to pay respect to our nation’s fallen heroes? If not, it’s never too late to remind them of how we gained the freedom that enables us to enjoy a day off.
One last thing. During the annual Memorial Day service, the speaker often reminds us that freedom is paid in blood, and only by honoring the fallen can we truly appreciate all God has blessed us with here in America…
Sound familiar…? Freedom paid in blood…? Of course I’m beyond grateful for my American freedoms, but how much more grateful I am for the freedom that was bought for each and every one of us across the globe with Jesus’ blood on the cross. Spiritual freedom was paid for once and for all by Jesus and can never be taken away. Now that’s something to really remember and honor.
Who were you remembering this past Memorial Day? Let me know in the comments; I’d be honored to share these memories with you!
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