Defend the defenseless, the fatherless and the forgotten, the disenfranchised and the destitute. Your duty is to deliver the poor and the powerless; liberate them from the grasp of the wicked. [Psalm 82:3-4 (TPT)]

It is essential to remember and renew the legacy of Memorial Day, which was established in 1828 to pay tribute to individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice to the United States and their families… [National Moment of Remembrance Act]

memorial dayContrary to popular belief, the purpose of our long holiday weekend is not to celebrate the end of school or the beginning of summer. More than a day for picnics and play, this is a day to honor those men and women who died while serving our country. Just as we stop to give thanks for our nation’s blessings on Thanksgiving, Memorial Day is the time we should stop to give thanks for the people who sacrificed their lives to makes those blessings possible.

When a group of school children touring our nation’s capital in May of 1966 were asked the meaning of Memorial Day, they said it was the day the city pools opened! After a survey that same month revealed that only 28% of adult Americans knew the significance of this national holiday, the idea for a moment of remembrance was born. Four years later, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act that designated a “moment of remembrance” at 3:00 PM (local time) every Memorial Day. In honor of our fallen warriors, people are asked to pause from whatever they are doing for one minute of silent remembrance and respect.

Sadly, this national moment doesn’t seem to be common knowledge and we’re usually too busy grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, splashing in the pool, planting flowers, playing ball, sitting in the shade with a cool drink, or watching sports to officially observe our national holiday. Rather than replacing other Memorial Day events, this observance is a simple way to put the memorial back into the day. If actually observed, these 60 seconds when all Americans honor those who died in service to our country could be a rare moment of national unity (something that seems to be in short supply these days).

While much is wrong with our country, there is much more that is right. We can worship freely or freely choose not to worship. We can read the books we want to read and say pretty much whatever it is we want to say. We can peaceably assemble and loudly complain to the government and everyone else. We can write letters to the editor, run for public office, Tweet, Instagram, and blog. We have mail that is uncensored and access to the Internet and everything on it. We can choose the television shows and movies we watch, the music and political commentators we hear, and the newspapers and magazines we read. If arrested, we have the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury and to confront any witnesses against us. We enjoy a level of freedom that is unknown in much of the world. That freedom, however, came at a terrible cost. Today, if only for a minute, let us remember the heroes who made all of that possible. In December, we’re reminded to keep the “Christ” in Christmas. How about putting the “memorial” back into Memorial Day? One minute, however, is nowhere nearly enough time to honor those who died for us.

Heavenly Father, thank you for those men and women who made it possible for us to enjoy the rights we so often take for granted. May we bear in mind that Memorial Day is not a tribute to summer but rather a tribute to those brave souls who died in the pursuit of our freedom and peace. Thank you for their courage, honor, service and sacrifice.

That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. [Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863]

For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends. [John 15:13 (TPT)]

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