I promised myself that when I had my own home, I would always have an American Flag posted. I don’t know if this is common everywhere, but here in Rexburg all of the local churches put up flags in everyone’s yards as a service project on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. It is really awesome to drive through the neighborhoods and see the masses of American Flags proudly blowing in the wind. Yet I think to myself, why do we have to wait for these two special days to put up flags and show our love for our country? I’m an American every day of the year, not just two. And I’m proud of it. So I went to the store yesterday and picked up a flag:
I was curious exactly what Memorial Day was for and how it started so I went to a “trusty” source to find out. Here are some fun facts from good old Wikipedia:
“Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday which occurs every year on the final Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service.
Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, living or dead.”
It got me thinking. What are we remembering and more importantly why are we remembering them. And what does it even mean to “remember” someone.
I’ve heard many people say (and I agree) that one of the most important words in scripture is “remember.” The word’s value in scripture is that we see what happened when people -as a whole or as individuals- made choices. Good choices led people to peace, bad choices led to suffering. And I’m not just talking about “sinning” but choices of governments and and other groups that led them to prosperity or destruction as a whole. And for those of you who may not value scripture as I do, the same applies to any history book you will ever read.
So what is the value of remembering? I believe that it should lead to two things. First and most obvious, gratitude. We need to be grateful for those who gave their lives for our freedom. We need to be grateful to live in a country with the opportunities and prosperity denied to so many others. We’ve got it pretty good here in the U.S. of A. I think a grateful nation could cure a lot of the problems and particularly the entitlement felt in this country.
A grateful heart will lead to the second thing; action! This action does not mean complain more. I think it is important to raise our voices to stand up for what we believe in. That is part of what makes this country great. But we need to offer solutions, not criticisms. And we need to match those words with actions. I don’t mean go buy a gun. I mean go help the kid or family next door who is struggling. I mean hug your children tight and teach them to be good-standing people. I mean sacrifice time and means to serve the people and communities around you.
I’m going to keep that flag on my house all day, everyday to remind me to contribute more to my family, my community and to my country. Because THAT is what my grandpa fought for and what my brother is fighting for today. God bless them and those who have died defending those same rights and privileges.