A Debt of Gratitude
Today’s Text: John 15:13
SEASONS: Memorial Day
We may think of Memorial Day as a three-day weekend that officially begins the summer season. This annual holiday is more, however, than outdoor activities, BBQs and gatherings with family and friends; it’s the specific day set aside as a national memorial.
Memorials are necessary. They remind us of people who made a difference and critical events in history that we should not and must not forget. Memorial Day in the United States is just such an occasion—a reminder that we are indebted to brave men and women who gave their lives to protect the freedom we enjoy.
The following Scripture passage puts their sacrifice into perspective:
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
In context, the passage quotes Jesus describing the love we should have for one another—a love powerfully exemplified by His own sacrificial death.
In a very real sense, however, this verse is a fitting description of those serving in our armed forces. Whether obvious or not, one characteristic distinguishes the lives of those serving in the military—love demonstrated by sacrifice.
Love for country . . . love for fellow man . . . love for our way of life . . . by stepping into the military uniform, each one demonstrates willingness to die protecting our nation and our freedom.
At crucial moments of our history, brave individuals have stood on our behalf in the face of mortal danger, inexplicable deprivation and overwhelming odds. Over a million brave men and women have died during the 12 major wars fought by the American military. Theirs was the ultimate sacrifice.
Others survived, but returned home maimed and battle scarred—their bravery often costing them the ability to live a normal life.
All deserve the esteem and gratitude of those they fought to protect.
Memorial Day is an opportunity for Americans to take the cost of our freedom to heart—to grasp the reality that freedom is not free—to be reminded that the America we enjoy today came at the price of great sacrifice.
This Memorial Day, intentionally reserve time to honor the memory of those who gave their lives on our behalf. During the afternoon’s activities, observe the National Moment of Remembrance obligating Americans, “to pause for one minute at 3:00 P.M. local time on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.” (1)
Considering the sacrifice America’s service men and women have made on our behalf, a memorial moment of silence is the very least we can do to show our gratitude. Then, remember to thank veterans for their service, which is appropriate every day throughout the year.
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. Rev. McCracken is known for authenticity in communicating biblical truth that makes his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added.)
1) “National Moment of Remembrance,” Memorial Day website.
1) U.S. veterans point out a familiar name at the Vietnam War memorial following a Veterans Day ceremony, Nov. 11, 2006. By the United States Department of Defense [Public domain].
2) A small American flag stands against the Vietnam Veterans Memorial during a ceremony to add the name of U.S. Army Lt. Col. Taylor to Panel 7W, Line 81 of the memorial in Washington, D.C. By William D. Moss [Public domain].
Categories: Memorial Day (U.S.)