Memorial Day is the holiday that calls on all of our citizens to honor the men and women who have gIven the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the U.S. military. Poppy flowers have long been worn as a symbol for remembering the fallen across the world. Flags and banners and stars are being displayed as we enter into this weekend of remembrance. As the wife of a retired service member, as well as the sister, daughter, great-granddaughter, niece and aunt of service men and women, Memorial Day is an important day of remembrance to me. I find it even more important, as this Sunday we gather again with our church families. Social distanced, yes, yet we are again gathered together and remembering. Remembering the fallen and Jesus, the reason for our personal salvation.
The History Channel reports that the first Memorial Day was celebrated shortly after the close of the Civil War. When we delve deeply into our history, we find that the very first Memorial Day was initiated by recently freed slaves in Charleston, SC. According to the research of a professor at Yale University, the first gathering to commemorate our fallen heroes was at the Washington Race Course in Charleston on May 1,1865. It wasn’t until several years later that the official title of Decoration Day and the date of May 30th was chosen to commentate the fallen. In 1886 decorations of flowers and memorials covered the graves of both the Union and Confederate‘s fallen warriors at Arlington National Cemetery as the president gave a speech commentating the first official Day of remembrance for those who had fallen in battle. As WWI, WWII and other world impacting conflicts affected our country, the name Decoration Day gradually changed to Memorial Day. It wasn’t until 1971 that the last Monday in May was appointed as the official day of remembrance, giving federal employees a long weekend.
John 15:13 AMP
“No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends.”
Memorial Day isn’t just a day to eat hot dogs and grab a cold one just because we get to have an extra day off. Memorial Day impacts our lives, whether we are aware of it personally or not, by the very blessed lives that we are privileged to lead each day. As we have experienced the reduced freedoms of the last several months, Memorial Day may even impact us in a much more meaningful way. Whether we are personally impacted by the loss of a loved who laid down their lives for our protection, we all experience the blessing of that noble sacrifice. Whether we call it Decoration Day or Memorial Day, let’s take the time to remember the heroes who laid down their lives on our behalf.