On this Memorial Day weekend, we pause to say “Thank You” to those who have given their lives in service for our country. Since the American Revolutionary War began in 1775, it is presumed that over 1.2 million soldiers have died defending the Stars and Stripes. Our hearts mourn for those we lost, and we are extremely grateful for their ultimate sacrifice. We will not forget.
While the exact figures of how many died can be debated, the bottom line is that one death is too many. Especially when that one life was someone we loved. On this Memorial Day 2020, may the Lord comfort the grieving and provide peace for their broken hearts. As former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Benjamin Disraeli said, “The legacy of heroes – the memory of a great name, and the inheritance of a great example.”
My dad Raymond was stationed in Guam during World War II. He was in the Army Air Force and he made sure the fighter planes were mechanically sound and combat ready. Some planes didn’t come back. But Dad seldom spoke of his experiences. He was like so many of the “Greatest Generation,” who epitomized duty and honor with little fanfare.
As a boy, Dad let me play with his many military awards and decorations for meritorious service and achievement. My mother said that I should be careful, but Dad didn’t seem concerned. He would just hug me and let me have fun. Thinking about it now, I should have treated each ribbon and medal with more respect and honor. Dad had earned them with his skill and unwavering devotion to his country, and he kept them with humility. What my dad accomplished serves as a memorial to me. I will not forget.
Another memorial is mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 26. He was having a meal at the home of Simon the leper when a woman poured very precious ointment upon His head. Others were quick to judge her, but Jesus commended her, and said that what this woman had done would “be told for a memorial of her.” (Verse 13)
This amazing woman was going to be remembered in the year 2020 for her loving deed. She anointed Christ only hours before He would walk to Calvary and be crucified for the sins of the world. She gave the best she had for the One she loved. Now, while the name of Judas rots, the name of Mary releases a sweet fragrance like the precious ointment she poured.
Two memorials are remembered today: one for the faithful soldiers, and the other for a devout woman of God. Each deserves honor for complete devotion, sincere humility, and pure motives.
As we read in Proverbs 10:7, “The memory of the just is blessed.”