Reflections – Memorial Day 2013
Doug Stringer – Turning Point Ministries, Houston, TX
As Americans, we will gather for times to reflect and honor the lives of fallen men and women who served our nation, and we do so with great gratitude. They fought and gave the greatest sacrifice for our freedom. Likewise, each day there are men and women whose life message speaks of great heroism. They include first responders, valiant firemen, policemen, rescue workers and citizens who rush to the rescue of victims. At great risk, some even give their own lives in the process of trying to save others. Each of these public servants, volunteers, and everyday citizens become modern-day heroes — Patriots.
What is a Patriot? One definition of the word states that a patriot is someone who feels strong support and is a strong defender of and for his or her country. There have been patriots throughout our history, dating back to the birth of our nation, who defended not only our land, but the values and freedoms we hold dear. The freedoms and liberties we so enjoy in the United States of America did not and do not come cheaply. There is a high cost of freedom. I remember when my stepfather was stationed at the Oak Harbor Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island in Washington State, there was a large billboard just outside the base that read, “Pardon the Noise, it’s the sound of Freedom!”
The heart of our nation remains patriotic, not just through those who give their lives on foreign shores, but the many unsung heroes as well-teachers, doctors, nurses, pastors, and other community leaders, who serve just because they love their country. Jesus said true greatness is found in serving others (Matthew 23:11). I can think of many friends who serve by washing the feet of others every day. These are the ones I think of when I think of a patriot.
Jesus set the greatest example for us and in His words, “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for the sake of his friends” (John 15:13). And following the Lord’s example, there are brave men and women who daily lay their lives down for their neighbors, their community, their country. We honor and remember each of them this Memorial Day. And as we do, we continue to lift up those who are serving our nation even today on foreign soil and at home. We lift up those in the military as well as first responders. Let’s remember in our prayers the recent victims of natural and man-made disasters in our nation. And we are thankful for all who are serving them each day bringing hope and healing.
Let us give thanks on Memorial Day and every day for this land that we call, home.