Memorial Day - Greater Love Has No One Than This
For many families, Memorial Day signifies the unofficial start of summer. Schools let out, backyard barbecues are thrown, and people head to the beach.
For those who understand the true reason for Memorial Day, it is honored more solemnly.
Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday in May, became a Federal holiday in 1971. It is a holiday designed for us to remember and honor the United States military men and women who died while serving their country.
Perhaps the reason many families focus on the start of the summer rather than the real reason for the occasion is how hard it might be to grasp the significance of what this day means.
When we recognize Memorial Day for what it is, it means we must recognize that someone died for the freedoms we take for granted.
This year let’s not avoid the truth of the holiday. Instead, let’s focus on our brave heroes and consider what it means to live a life serving others.
A Sacrifice for Our Freedom
“Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
– John 15:13
Members of the United States Armed Forces joined the military knowing there would be a possibility they would go to war protecting their country.
They chose to fight and die for the country they love.
It is on Memorial Day that we honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives for our freedom.
Billy Graham said, “The freedoms we enjoy, the freedoms we take so much for granted, the freedoms we so often trifle with were bought not by the gold of our millionaires, nor altogether the genius of our scientists, nor the sacrifices of the people at home, but primarily by the blood, sweat and agony of those whose names on this day we honor—those who died that we might live!”
A Life of Service
“This is how we know what love is:
Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
And we ought to lay down our lives
for our brothers and sisters.”
– 1 John 3:16
Members of the United States Armed Forces are referred to as service men and women because they serve their country – and that type of service requires sacrifice.
For those who follow Jesus, we are also called to a life of service. We serve God by serving others. By putting the needs of others above our own, we follow in footsteps of those who served and gave their lives for our religious liberties – even if it seems as though our small deeds pale in comparison.
Let’s take an example from our fallen heroes. Honor them by living lives worthy of the sacrifice they gave.
Freedom in Christ
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
– Galatians 5:13
On Memorial Day, when we remember the sacrifice these men and women made for our national freedom, we also remember another man who lived and died for our personal freedom.
Jesus Christ sacrificed His life on the cross, so you and I may experience freedom from sin and death. It is because of His great sacrifice that we live and have hope.
Billy Graham said, “Even though the sacrifices of our war dead have been great, yet the greatest sacrifice of all time was made by a man on a cross who died not only physically but spiritually that men might live.”
A Time of Remembrance Together
On Memorial Day, we have an opportunity to come together as a nation to remember and honor those who died for our country.
There is something significant about remembering together – especially in times when the country feels so divided.
Cities host Memorial Day parades, and families visit military cemeteries.
This year, there may not be any parades because of Coronavirus, but we can still set aside our differences and unify on Memorial Day to honor our heroes.
He Will Wipe Away Every Tear
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
– Revelation 21:4
When we honor these fallen soldiers, we should also take time to pray for the loved ones they have left behind.
While it is a day of honor, it is also a day of mourning.
Thankfully, those who put their faith in Jesus know there will come a day when there will be no more tears. Because of His sacrifice, we escape death and will share eternity with Him.
Ways for Families to Honor Memorial Day
There is nothing wrong with celebrating the unofficial start of summer over Memorial Day weekend. But, if your family is looking for ways to honor our national heroes on Memorial Day, here are a few suggestions:
- Visit a military or national cemetery. Calverton National Cemetery is local to South Bay.
- Attend a Memorial Day service in your community. The South Bay Memorial Day service will be online on Sunday, May 24, 2020.
- Observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 pm on Memorial Day.
- Pray for our military.
- Spend time with veterans in your community with the American Legion Auxiliary.
- Talk about the difference between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day with your children.
- Volunteer with organizations that support the US Armed Forces like the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
- Donate time and/or money to a Habitat for Humanity – Veterans Build.
- Donate to the Wounded Warrior Project.
- And … Please do not say “Happy Memorial Day.” It’s not a happy holiday. It’s a sober time of remembrance.