I never have been comfortable taking time for traveling or picnicking on the Memorial Day weekend. Many avail themselves of such activities because of time designated off, which is okay. But, as we know, Memorial Day is a time that has been set to honor those fallen in the wars and conflicts of our nation.
People gave up their lives for the benefit and welfare of those past, present, and future who, by contrast, have gone on living. It is moving to me that they died. Their lives stopped. They gave the supreme personal sacrifice.
Freddie Coffman and Arnold Stewart were two with whom I went to school. They were killed in Vietnam. They were good young men. Their names are included on the The Wall in D. C. I have been to The Wall three times. I have wept while looking at some of the names on The Wall. Over 58,000. So many.
As a teenager, I remember reading the newspaper, the Winchester Evening Star, about the commissioning of The Wall’s construction. I remember thinking how useless it seemed that the Vietnam Memorial was going to just be a wall of black granite. I was wrong. So stirring.
Then, I consider the many who have died serving in all the conflicts associated with America. I think that, because of them, I want to live appreciatively. Because of them, I want to respect our flag, for their sacrifice is certainly inherent when it waves overhead in the breeze.
Because of them, I want to respect the freedom we have. I do not want to take our freedom for granted by living altogether self-centered. Because of them, I want to do something that will make a difference in society, for their sacrifice certainly has. Because of them, I respect their families and loved ones for the pain of loss they have had to endure.
As an American, I want to give pause to honor the fallen of America.
But, comparatively, because I am a Christian, I am drawn to daily honor the falling of my Savior, Jesus Christ. If we were ever to be saved from the guilt and consequences of sin, He had to sacrifice His life, and, evidently, He wanted to for our sakes. It was there on the Cross that He gave it. It was there that He willingly fell.
Apostle Paul said that “I determine not to know anything, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” So should we.
Because of what Christ did, I want to live appreciatively. Out of appreciation, I want to honor Him with faithful worship in church. Out of appreciation, I want to honor Him by telling others how He saved me, and how gives to each of us an eternal hope. Out of appreciation, I want to honor Him by living according to His principles.
All told, there have been those who have died on our behalf. Is it not the least we can do but to give pause to think honorably of them?
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.