Today is Memorial Day if you hadn’t already noticed that. A day that we fill with parties and the “official start of summer”. We have 20 people arriving in…….about 3 hours.
But that isn’t what Memorial Day is really all about. It is to remember those who have paid the “last full measure of devotion” so that we might be free here. And it is to remember and thank those who continue to stand in harms way for us.
This year, as I have done for a number of years, I will spend time praying for our military. I will spend time specifically praying for several servicemen that I know who are putting themselves in harms way so that I can be safe here in my own, weed infested, yarn filled back yard. For my college roommate Susan’s son Matt who is serving in Afghanistan. For my cousin Clint who serves in the Air Force. For Mike, a former Sunday School student of ours and the son of some dear friends. And for my friend Connie’s son who returned, safe and sound, from Afghanistan.
Take the time today, or any day for that matter, and thank a soldier. HHBL will tell you that I do this whenever I see a serviceman or woman in the airport. Or in a store. Or on the street. Or wherever I happen to be. They have earned the right to have my complete gratitude. And they have it.
And I will take the time to read The Gettysburg Address. I couldn’t say it any better than Abraham Lincoln did. And I would probably need more words:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - 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 of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.