The purpose of the Memorial Day holiday is often forgotten in the excited planning of a three-day weekend. For some, it is a day off, an excuse to fire up the grill…and not much else. Some people take the time to remember and thank everyone who has served our country. This is great and necessary, but it misses the main point of the holiday.
The focus of Memorial Day is to remember and honor those who dedicated their lives to protecting our country…and did not make it home. This is the day we remember those who willingly stepped into battle, carrying all of us on their backs. They laid down their lives for many people they would never know because they believed that our freedom was worth protecting.
If all U.S. wars are taken into account, over 1.1 million people have given their lives for us. The path to freedom is paved with the bricks of bravery, sacrifice, and love. While those willing to charge into battle were motivated by selflessness and did not demand recognition, it is important for us to remember them.
We must remember also the people they left behind whose lives were forever changed. While today is a day off for many of us, for others, it is a sad reminder of a child, parent, or spouse who isn’t coming home, a loved one who will never again feel our embrace, or a friend who will never share another laugh with us.
On Memorial Day, please say a prayer for the families and friends who have been impacted by the service of loved ones—and a prayer of thankfulness for those who were willing to serve.
It takes a special person to give their all in service to our country. Let us live in a way that honors their sacrifice. May we be a people who remember.