Memorial Day Thought, 2012
Another Memorial Day has come and gone — yet the emotions it evokes linger. How grateful we must be for the freedoms we enjoy at such a great price. Most of all I am thankful for the sacrifice Jesus made which keeps my spirit free. The following is an article by Dr. Del Tackett which speaks well of the meaning of Memorial Day. RMF
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
On September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists killed over 3,000 people using four hijacked airplanes. Two of those were deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center Towers in New York City. Historically, it was the largest loss of life due to a single foreign attack upon American soil…worse than Pearl Harbor.
On Memorial Day, we honor those who have given their lives in defense of this country. We usually think of those who wear the uniform of the military, but there were over 400 firefighters, police and other first responders who gave their lives in response to this act of war.
At the edge of ground zero, stands Trinity Church. After George Washington took his oath of office in 1781, he and Vice President Adams and the rest of Congress walked solemnly to this church to worship together as their first official act. When the Towers were collapsing, severely damaging and destroying other buildings nearby, Trinity, miraculously, survived unscathed. During the days of intense rescue efforts, the church became a relief center for those brave warriors.
But it also became a memorial.
When off-duty firefighters rushed to the scene and donned their uniforms for the battle, many hung their civilian shoes on the spikes of the iron fence surrounding the church. At the end of that infamous day, shoes that remained became a memorial to those who would never wear them again…those who had given their lives for their fellow man.
I visited ground zero a few weeks ago, beginning at Trinity Church where I first read this story. It was difficult to choke back the tears. That emotion continued as I toured the new memorial and the two “bottomless” pools that mark the footprint of the twin towers. Etched in the granite around the edge of each pool are the names of those who were killed in the attack. One caught my attention and my emotions as well.
I didn’t know Jennifer Howley, but it was what followed her name that grabbed me by the throat: “…and her unborn child”. My thoughts immediately went to my oldest daughter and how she is getting close to bearing her baby. I thought of how I would gladly run into battle to defend them both.
These are the ones for whom we fight in war. These are the ones for whom we are willing to lay down our lives. These are the ones for whom we rush into the inferno of a blazing tower, donning our uniforms and hanging up our civilian shoes, knowing that we may never return to put them on again.
We honor those who fight today to preserve the lives of family members at home, to preserve the right to life and liberty and happiness. I am thankful that my son-in-law is home safe from his third deployment of this war. But others were not so fortunate.
Others grieve on this day.
Some are grieving for soldiers lost only this week. Others grieve for soldiers lost in the many years since the evil of Islamic terrorism invaded our world. Others grieve for soldiers lost in wars of distant past.
Today we remember and hopefully resolve once again that it is a virtue to be willing to give one’s life for another. It is noble and of high character. It is the height and depth of love, according to Jesus.
Is our own life so dear or our own peace and prosperity so sweet, that we would succumb to its comfort and be unwilling to pay such a high price?
Have we become too self-centered, too captivated by relativistic thought, too enamored with tolerance and politically correct notions to think that there are transcendent values that call us to something well beyond our own self-interests and preservation?
Have we become so softened by selfish lies that we wouldn’t, or couldn’t, make the hard decisions when called upon?
Would we leave the comfort of our home and family and possessions and put on the uniform?
Maybe these are the kind of questions that we should ask ourselves on Memorial Days.
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, Give me Liberty, or give me Death!”
Speech at St. John’s Church, Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775