We are coming into a very patriotic season – Memorial Day and the 4th of July. I want to take this time to reflect on the true meaning of each. It is important that all Americans understand what we are celebrating. They can be days for picnics and family time, but the real meaning is historical and has a deep meaning. Parents need to ensure their children truly understand.

America is ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’ as sung in the Star-Spangled Banner. America was founded upon the right of freedom. Freedom is important, but it is often confused with the misrepresentation of ‘personal rights’ or ‘freedom to err.’ When one sees the news, the issue of freedom is often slanted. That is not what true freedom means. For America, it meant founding this new nation on the freedom found in the principles of God.

For this first post, I am going to focus on Memorial Day. Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May. It is because we “remember” all those brave men and women of the military who gave their lives fighting for our freedom. We have the freedom we have today because they were willing to fight and die for it. That makes this day one that we need to honor.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13 NIV).

Originally, the day was named “Decoration Day.” That began in 1868 when women decorated the graves of both the Union and Confederate the soldiers who died in the Civil War. In 1971, it became a national holiday to honor the nearly 1.5 million men and women who died in defense of our country.

Remembering is Biblical. Peter wrote “I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder that you should remember (2 Peter 3:1-2).

Freedom is Biblical. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

This also means that if we do not have the Spirit of the Lord present in our nation, we will not have true freedom.

I want to tell you a heartfelt story of Memorial Day. Many years ago, I worked with a man who participated in Civil War Reenactments in Chicago. One of these reenactments is held on Memorial day at one of the major cemeteries where many Civil War soldiers have been laid to rest. He wanted to find a Civil War Bible to take with him and he found one in an antique store. He noticed that there was a name inside and he looked it up. This man was laid to rest in that same cemetery where he participated in these reenactments. Year after year, he would participate in that reenactment. Then he would go to this man’s grave and read this man’s Bible over his grave. This is a great example of honoring someone on Memorial Day.

If you have members of your family who lost their lives this way, go to their grave if you can and honor the sacrifice they made. Fly the flag for the right reason – to honor these brave men and women who gave all for our freedom. Think of them before you get excited that the community pool is open. Celebrate Memorial Day for those who fought for your freedom.

Dishonoring the flag is not a freedom. It is a disrespect to the men and women who gave their lives for your right to live under it.

Here are some of the freedoms we have because of them:
• Freedom of speech
• Freedom of worship
• Freedom to vote
• Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

I want to leave you with a few Memorial Day quotes:

“The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude” (Jeff Miller, Former US Representative, Florida). – moving this quote to post #2

“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them” (President Franklin D. Roosevelt).

“Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay” (President Barack Obama).

“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me” (Lee Greenwood, “God Bless the U.S.A.”).

Looking forward to sharing more with you next week,

Dr. Christine Van Horn