Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated shortly after the Civil War to commemorate fallen Union soldiers by placing flowers and flags on their graves. The South chose a separate day to honor their dead until after World War I when the holiday was changed to honor, not just Civil War dead, but all who have died while serving in the United States military. While various dates have been used in the past, the last Monday of each May is now reserved for the commemoration of Memorial Day. Traditionally, soldiers’ graves are decorated with flags and red poppies on this day.
They fell, but o’er their glorious grave
Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.
– Francis Marion Crawford
A memorial is something that is designed to preserve the memory of a person or an event. Sadly, much of the meaning of Memorial Day seems to have been lost, and now, many see at as just an excuse for a 3-day weekend and a great time for a barbecue. As Americans, we should view Memorial Day as a time to remember those who have sacrificed their lives and spilled their blood in order to ensure the freedoms that we have today. Because of the men and women that have died for this country, we have the right to gather this morning, to praise God’s name freely, to live in peace, to raise our children free from oppression.
As we remember those that have paid the ultimate price to ensure our country’s liberty, it is also fitting that we remember Jesus, the one who died to guarantee our freedom from spiritual bondage. Just as the last Monday in May is Memorial Day for Americans, each Sunday — no, each and every day — should be a Memorial Day for Christians. The way that we live our lives should remind others of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice that He made to secure our eternity.
10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!