Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Render to all what is due them: ... honor to whom honor. Romans 13:7 
I was born on July 4, 1776, and the Declaration of Independence is my birth certificate.  The bloodlines of the world run in my veins, because I offered freedom to the oppressed.  I am many things and many people.  I am America!

I am 200 million living souls, and the ghosts of millions who have lived and died for me.  I remember the Alamo, the Maine, and Pearl Harbor.  When freedom called, I answered, and stayed until it was over -- over there.  I left my heroic dead in Flander's fields, on the rock Corregidor, on the bleak slopes of Korea, in the steaming jungles of Vietnam, and in the desert of Desert Storm.
I am America!  And we are Americans!

The graves of our brave soldiers are scattered all over the world.  Each lonely marker stands as a reminder that all we cherish has been preserved at such a great cost. 
They died for liberty.  They died for us.

In the midst of battles, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death.  They are at rest.
At the close of the Civil War, a group of women in Columbus, Mississippi, honored both Confederate and Union dead by placing flowers on their graves.  When the news of this act of compassion reached the North, it helped to heal the recent wounds the young nation had suffered.

In 1868 General John A. Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued his historic order to all chapters of the Grand Army of the Republic to set aside May 30 as Decoration Day (now called Memorial Day) to decorate the graves of the heroic dead.  And so today, we take this day to remember them.

Many Americans will place a flag or flowers on the graves of those who served in the armed forces of our country.  We do remember them!  We will never forget them!

They still serve us!  Their memories are powerful influences on our lives!  We idealize them, recalling some virtue or trait of character which each of them possessed, and by such idealization, we become better men and women.  We draw strength from their memories and then go again about our own tasks, meeting our own responsibilities with high courage and deeper fortitude.

They have placed in our hands an inheritance and a heritage.  We will forever be indebted to them.
We warm by fires; we have not kindled;
We drink from wells; we have not dug;
We live by liberties; we have not won.
Every liberty we enjoy has been bought at the cost of the best our nation had to give.  Our nation rests upon this foundation cemented in place by the blood of our soldiers who fought their way through icy battlefields or over burning sands.  The words inscribed on a War Memorial in Glasgow Scotland remind us what we can do who remember:  "These died in war, that we at peace might live, These gave their best, so we our best must give."

Scripture to Claim:
The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior! He is the God who avenges me. . . who sets me free from my enemies.  2 Samuel 22:47-49

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