Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May. This important holiday is not just another “day off” but a day to remember those who lost their lives in military service to our country.
Remembering is a painful but necessary discipline. Remembering the historical facts helps us remain aware of the harsh realities of national and international conflict. Remembering the stories of battle may enable us to learn from both the successes and the failures of our national heritage. Remembering the fallen keeps alive the individual and corporate legacies of valor and courage that inspire and challenge us to be responsible citizens of the free world.
Forgetting is to develop a toxic amnesia that robs succeeding generations of acquaintance with their national ancestry. Forgetting creates a contagious apathy that neglects both freedom and citizenship. Forgetting may result in a false sense of protection from future warfare. Forgetting eventually leads to a loss of national identity.
What are some things we can do to remember and commemorate the contributions of those who lost their lives in battle?
- Read biographies of world leaders, military generals, POWs and holocaust survivors.
- Read historical accounts of crucial battles.
- View a documentary or movie that realistically portrays war.
- Visit historic sites such as battlefields, monuments and military cemeteries.
- Visit with a veteran and listen firsthand to stories from the heat of battle.
- Give thanks for those who fought for freedom and justice.
- Pray for those in military service today.
- Pray and work for freedom, justice and world peace.
- Practice and preserve religious liberty.
- Exercise your rights and fulfill your responsibilities as a citizen.
Barry Howard is senior minister of First Baptist Church in Corbin, Ky.
Pastor at the Wieuca Road Baptist Church in Atlanta. He also serves as a leadership coach and columnist for the Center for Healthy Churches.