Memorial Day

Each year, we set aside one day for the purpose of honoring the men and women who have served and are serving in the United States Military, and those who have died while in its service.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, over 43 million people have served during a wartime period since the Revolutionary War. 652,696 died while in battle and another 539,639 died from other non-combat (combined in-theatre, and out of theatre) related reasons. Add to that another 1,447, 281 service members who were wounded during those engagements.

Regardless of whether you agree with the reasons why those men and women were in combat, the freedom which allows someone to publicly disagree with the actions of their government comes with a heavy price tag. Lives were taken in order for us to enjoy those freedoms. Freedom to write this post, freedom to worship as I choose, freedom to arm myself and protect my family, freedom to work in any profession I choose, freedom from unreasonable searches, the right to trial by a jury of my peers to name a few.

Many complain that Memorial Day has become a day of barbecues, big sales, and car races, and less about the memory of those who have fallen. Have a barbecue, go buy a gun, write a letter to your congressman. Why? Because you can, because it is your American right to do so. But don’t forget the cost of that freedom.

Thank you to the service men and women who are serving or have served, and especially to those who have had their lives taken in defense and expansion of these freedoms around the world. Thank you to the families who have had loved ones taken from them during the execution of this noble cause. May it never be forgotten.

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One Response to Memorial Day

  1. stushie says:

    Memorial Day Sonnet

    If Liberty means anything to me,
    I will remember what my freedom cost,
    By those who gave their all to keep me free,
    Whose lives were sacrificed, but never lost.
    I will remind myself of what they did,
    And keep them dearly cherished in my heart;
    Their honor never from me shall be hid
    And I will know they always did their part
    To save our nation and its people here,
    To pledge their lives in defense of our ways,
    To show that freedom always outlives fear,
    And sacrifice is hallowed all our days.
    If Liberty means anything to me,
    I will remember those who kept me free.

    © John Stuart 2008
    Pastor at Erin Presbyterian Church,
    Knoxville, Tennessee

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