It was hard to miss the fact that this past weekend was Memorial Day Weekend. Stores have special sales…the kids have a three day weekend…families go camping…and it is traditionally the first day the pool opens. We often call the Memorial Day Weekend the unofficial start of summer. Let me be the first to say that traditions are important. Pam and I have both written about this before and it bears repeating. Throughout the year, our family has several things that we do to help us remember – we call these things traditions. We have traditions at Christmas (like Shepherd’s Pie on Christmas Eve). Christmas morning I make our traditional breakfast scrambles with sausage gravy and biscuits. At Thanksgiving, I am in charge of making the Potato Filling. We have a family Advent/Christmas Nativity. These are just some of the traditions that our family celebrates.
For several years now, we have watched the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS as part of our Memorial Day commemoration. Last year, Pam and I attended the Staunton Memorial Day Service for the first time. This year we made everyone attend. At least this year, James was off of school. It was a beautiful reminder of those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. We even got on television. The local NBC affiliate did a feature piece on a trend that they noticed. That trend is that those attending these services are getting older. The question is “Where are the young people?” Both Pam and I were interviewed, although the footage didn’t make the final story, although several shots of our family did. The reporter asked why we came out? We said that this was something important to us. We want our children to remember that men and women throughout the history of our nation have laid down their lives for our freedom. It is important to remember this, especially these days. War is not a popular topic these days, but there are times when (as a country) we are left with no other option.
Several years ago, I preached a sermon on the importance of remembering. The text for that sermon came from Joshua and the crossing of the Jordan. After the Israelites had crossed the Jordan, they were instructed to gather stones and stand them in the river. I’ve learned recently that this was an ancient way of recording a testimony or an event and they called these stones, standing stones. The picture above are standing stones that are on Tell Gezer. The stones in the river served as a reminder to future generations of how God moved in a powerful way at that time in their history.
That is why Memorial Day is so important to Pam and me. Memorial Day serves as a standing stone – to remember those who gave their lives – that freedom isn’t free – that freedom always comes with a price – that we need to tell the story to future generations.