Memorial Day 2021
Monday is Memorial Day—the solemn holiday during which we honor those who gave their lives defending our freedom and the safety of our nation.
The observance of Memorial Day in the United States dates back to the Civil War. It focused on honoring the war dead of both the Union and the Confederacy by laying the flowers of springtime on the graves of those whose lives had been lost from both sides. This simple act of respect began to bring a divided country together.
Many of our Adventist HealthCare team members have family members in the armed forces or are veterans themselves. We all have friends or family members whose lives of service included the ultimate sacrifice. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13, KJV).
How can we fully understand the depth of love like that? How can we adequately express our gratitude and appreciation for those whose dreams were left unrealized and potential unfulfilled so that we can enjoy the freedoms of our democracy? One small way is to honor their sacrifice and to remember what they gave their lives defending.
Writer Kristin Ann Hass suggests that “Memorials are the way we make promises to the future about the past.”
This Memorial Day I invite you to make a promise to the future: that those who have died for this country will not have made that sacrifice needlessly. Memorial Day calls on us to honor those who gave their lives for the ideals of our nation by reaffirming those ideals.
We affirm the sacrifices that others have made on our behalf by confirming that we are committed to preserving what they lived and died for. It is a promise we affirm with every commemorative parade and solemn ceremony.
We can never repay the debt that is owed our fallen heroes, but on Memorial Day and every day we honor their sacrifice by keeping our own commitments to the values for which they died.