Next Monday is Memorial Day, a day set aside to remember all those who have died in the service of our country. Sadly the holiday has lost much of its significance since Congress changed the date from May 30th to the last Monday in May, creating a three day holiday. People are more interested in starting summer vacations and outdoor parties and barbecues than in thinking about fallen soldiers. While vacations and barbecues are not bad things, let us not forget the significance of this day.
We need to always be aware that the freedoms we take for granted came at a heavy cost. Today, more than any other day, let us honor their memory and give thanks to God for their sacrifices for our freedom and for our safety.
Recently my husband and I saw the traveling replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Every name that is on the Memorial Wall in Washington DC is on the smaller replica. There are now 58,260 names listed on the Memorial and approximately 1200 of these are listed as missing (MIA’s, POW’s, and others). So many names, so many lives lost.
One of those names is a young man I went to school with. Alan was an average student, a little shy but he had the most beautiful smile. Alan joined the Army weeks after graduation and was sent to Vietnam weeks after he finished boot camp. A few weeks later, just 19 years old, he was killed.
Every name on that Memorial Wall represents a real person, who lived, who had dreams and plans for a future. And for every name, there is a family who was left to grieve. For Alan, it was the grandmother who raised him. Others left behind parents, spouse, siblings and some even children.
We honor our heroes, it is only right. But let us not forget that for every fallen soldier, sailor, police office and fireman, there is a family who also sacrificed for us. They too should be recognized. Today as we remember those lost, let us also say a prayer for family and loved ones left behind.
And let us pray also for those serving today, all over the world and on our streets, for God’s protection over them and for His blessings on their service. I can think of no better way to honor those fallen than to support those serving now.
Peace and Blessings,