May we ever honor the fallen and worship the One Who is risen.
I suspect that I am not the only one who needs reminders. Every day, I use technology that helps me to track my schedule, tasks, and projects. I thank my wife when she reminds me of something.
Few have the memory of a Jeopardy contestant, but all need a good memory. And while we should forget some things, there are other things we dare not forget. The sacrifice of those who fought for our country is one of those things.
When it comes to what is important, Americans with a foggy memory of our past have a dangerous future.
Someone may ask, “What difference does it make?”
Remembering honors the fallen.
They may not be here for us to thank them personally, and we may not know their relatives who grieve their deaths, but pausing to listen in silence while knowing their words will never be heard again, keeps their memory alive.
And I hear another say, “If I don’t know those who died, what does it mean to me?
Remembering hones our values.
To know the history of America is to know the immeasurable cost of our priceless freedoms. When we realize the value of something, we treat it differently. One may ignore a heavy wedge of metal being used as a doorstop until you find out it is solid silver from a Spanish shipwreck.
Knowing the value of freedom of speech by the price paid to guarantee it should cause us to see it as precious. The same is true of the other God-given rights recognized in our Constitution.
How we approach life in America, like how we treat our neighbors, choosing to use our right to vote, and staying informed on important issues, should be much more valuable to someone who knows the cost of freedom.
Remembering helps our future
Philosopher George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense. Scribner’s, 1905: 284).
Those who lived during the Cold War and are aware of the threat and of suffering of communism, Marxism, and Socialism must be dumbfounded to hear young adults speaking positively about the philosophies that enslaved and killed millions.
Ignorance is costly. People ignorant of the past have no historical reference points to help them navigate the present.
This Memorial Day, we should not only choose to remember the fallen but also to learn from them. The extreme conditions they endured and their uncommon courage should beg the question, "Why? Why would they be willing to suffer as they did?"
Those who labor under the misconception that they are victims and are entitled to benefits without sacrifice need to ask, "What would cause so many to sacrifice so much?"
Only by learning evil is not an existential threat to their comfort but a real and present danger to their lives can they understand why so many would put themselves in harms way and fight to the death to protect America.
No one who survived the battles of the past thinks lightly of our freedom or treats our flag as a decoration. Those who survived combat know the horrors of war. And none who have survived combat are ever the same.
We would do well to thank those who fought and survived but also to pause and reverently remember the price paid by those who did not.
To the memory of the fallen.
It is natural for those who follow Christ to see similarities between those who gave their lives for our freedom and the One Who gave His life for our sins. The parallels are plain. In both the sacrifices made on the battlefield and the sacrifice made on the cross, we see courage exemplified and love for others that results in death.
Yes, there are similarities between the sacrifice of loved ones on the battlefield and the sacrifice of the One Who loved us and died on a cross; but the difference between the sacrifices is profound.
Before you protest, remember how clearly I have stressed the importance of honoring the fallen and those who returned from battle. Nothing can minimize the sacrifice they have made. Their acts of heroism cannot be sullied even by the cruelest critic.
But we must understand that the sacrifice of the Son of God for the sins of the world will forever exceed any sacrifice made by man.
Just consider the One Who died for us:
He is God, the Holy, Almighty Creator, Sovereign, All-knowing, Eternal King of Kings, and Lord of Lords
Now consider those for whom He died:
We are fallen, sinful by nature and by choice, "dead in sins," and on our own, our best efforts are offensive to God
We are all fallen creatures. We have all sinned. We were born with a fallen, sinful nature and have chosen to sin. Whether we realize it or not, our sin has separated us from God. Spiritually, we are "dead in our trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1). And there is absolutely nothing we can do to improve ourselves or our situation.
The courageous men and women who died on the battlefield died for you and me. They are in a class all their own and deserve unending honor. Their sacrifice bought the priceless gifts of our safety and freedom. And as profound as their sacrifice was, it will likely have to be repeated.
World War I was known as "the Great War" and "the war to end all wars." After it, one would have thought that man would find a way to avoid wars. But history shows that as long as there is sin and evil in the world, evildoers will be around to cause war.
But one day, there will be no more war. The Son of God will return to judge the earth, and He will rule and reign forever with those who have made peace with God through His sacrifice.
It is terrible to think that even one more will have to give their life on a battlefield for our freedom, but sadly it is likely. But there will never be another sacrifice for sin. Jesus Christ completed His mission. He paid the ultimate price for our sin. No other payment is needed. Any attempt to pay for sin other than through Christ is not only foolish and futile; it is sin.
May we ever honor the fallen and praise the One Who is risen!