Don’t Forget This Memorial Day

Even with all of our flaws (and they are many), I love this country. Living in the U.P., my patriotism has grown leaps and bounds. I appreciate how God and Country are celebrated here without fear. It’s refreshing.

I’m also aware of the fact, that without the sacrifices of life and limb of the countless thousands of men and women over the years, my freedom would not be as secure as it is today. I guess that’s one of the reasons that I verbally show appreciation for veterans whenever I see them out and about. Also, it really helps when veterans identify themselves with a cap that says “Veteran.” It’s like a name-tag to me. I will usually shake their hand and tell them “Thank you” if I see them in the public square. It’s not much, I guess, but it is something. I especially go out of my way to thank those who identify themselves as Vietnam Veterans. I was eight years old when that war ended, but I’ve heard horrible stories of how veterans were treated with disrespect and abuse. They deserved better. If I could, I would apologize for the whole lot of us.

Still, somehow I don’t believe they were treated that way in the U.P. if this is where they came home to. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t see any of the people around here ever being unthankful or unpatriotic; not in a million years. Boy, I sure do appreciate that about the U.P.

I learned the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day here in the U.P. I guess I never really paid that much attention to it before, but I couldn’t ignore it in this overwhelmingly patriotic climate. I finally understood that Veterans Day was for the living-to thank them for their service. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring those in the military who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or because of wounds sustained in battle.

Because I wanted to show my appreciation for America’s soldiers, some time ago, I wrote a song for Veterans called, “Thank You to the American Soldier.” In 2013, I wrote a song for our fallen soldiers called, “This Memorial Day.” I’m including the words here because I feel like it’s a unique way of honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“We Remember the fallen of yesterday. 
It’s because of you we stand free today.

Your sacrifice was noble, and we won’t throw that away;
 That’s why we remember you  This Memorial Day.
Maybe no one knew your name when you paid the ultimate price,
 but maybe at that moment, you gave Jesus your life.
When the roll is called up yonder, I’d like to shake your hand.
Until then, we remember you This Memorial Day.
It seems America is fallen today. 
But there are those of us who still hope and pray

That America would rise up to her faith of yesterday;
 Cause we are still the land of the free and home of the brave.

For everyone who gave their lives, It will never be in vain. That’s why we remember you  This Memorial Day.
Your sacrifice was noble, and we won’t throw that away;
 That’s why we remember you  This Memorial Day….”

If you are the spouse of one who has fallen in battle, may I say, “Thank you.” Sometimes I think we forget about the one who had to stay home and hold down the fort, if you will, only to lose the very one they were holding it down for. Then to have to raise the kids alone, and having to hold it together in the midst of their own great sadness and grief is unfathomable, but admirable. To the parents and children of those who gave their lives for this country, I say, “Thank you.” You gave up so much as well, but you kept on living. I applaud you for that. I thank God for your sacrifice, and I’m sorry for your loss.

This Memorial Day, let’s remember the fallen, honor those who grieve them and go out of our way (if necessary) to thank those who are still walking among us and those who still serve.

Let’s also remember that Jesus modeled for us the ultimate love and sacrifice when He gave His life. These are some of His last words before going to the cross: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

I thank God for the U.S.A. and I won’t forget This Memorial Day.

Shalom,
Big D

Find hope here! “Just hold on: finding hope in the face of suicide”

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