By Chris Erickson
Pastor, Faith Baptist Church
Monday, May 28, is Memorial Day. For many, Memorial Day is simply a day off of work, a day to grill out and watch baseball, a day to simply relax and enjoy the lake. That is not why we celebrate Memorial Day. Consider the last seven words of this quote taken from “The American’s Creed” by William Tyler Page. “I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed, a democracy in a republic, a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.”
Memorial Day is a day to listen to the cry calling for us to remember the sacrifice that American patriots have made to give us freedom in America. The Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., reminds all who pass by that “Freedom is not free.” Over the course of 12 major wars that the United States of America has been involved in, it is estimated that 1,319,475 American patriots have sacrificed their lives to make America free. Are you listening and remembering their sacrifice? Millions of others have sacrificed their time, their families, their health, and their fortunes to give us freedom.
As I think about those who have sacrificed, or are sacrificing even now to defend my freedom, I am convicted by my own lack of service and participation. Although we may not be fighting over seas to defend freedom we are called as American citizens to remember and to respond. Listen to the last sentence of “The American’s Creed.” “I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.” Many of us have sacrificed very little for the cause of freedom; yet I ask you, what have you done in response to the freedom you have been given? Others have sacrificed their lives and their fortunes to make America free. Will you respond to their sacrifice? We must listen to the true message of Memorial Day.
How will you remember and respond? I challenge you to take your family to a local cemetery for a Memorial Day service this Monday, teach your children about the sacrifice men and women in uniform have made, honor the flag by standing when it is presented, place your hand over your heart when saying “The Pledge of Allegiance” or singing “The National Anthem,” thank a Veteran, and thank God for allowing you to be an American.
Anyone can watch a baseball game or grill out at the park, but it takes a dedicated American patriot to listen to the true message of Memorial Day. Remember the sacrifice of others, and respond by honoring past and present Americans who have sacrificed their lives and their fortunes for our freedom.