You are now free to move about the planet ….
It seems like we should use a different word than ‘celebrate’ when we talk about Memorial Day. I guess it sounds strange to say we’ honor’ Memorial Day, even though we are honoring anyone in the military who have given their lives in the ravages of war so Americans can continue to live in freedom. In searching for a good description of Memorial Day I found it on the homepage of msn.com today, May 27, 2013. “Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have fallen during service to our country. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, as its purpose was to visit cemeteries and place flowers on the graves of soldiers who had died in the Civil War. In 1882, people started calling it “Memorial Day,” and by the time World Wars I and II had ended, it had evolved into a day to honor all fallen military men and women, no matter what war they fought in.”
While we are off ‘celebrating’ a day off work, parades, picnics, ball games, and a multiplicity of activities, let’s be immeasurably grateful because we have freedom that allows us to have a day off work, attend parades, picnic with loved ones, play ball, and participate in that multiplicity of activities. Freedom is not free. We know we have thousands of soldiers serving in stateside and in foreign countries. We know that when a person enlists in the military they are contracting with every United States citizen to be their defender, to the point that they could be sent into a war zone at any time. Freedom is not free.
When we go to our jobs every day, they are jobs we’ve chosen for ourselves. The way we spend time through the day and evening hours have few restrictions and dependencies; we are free to move about country 24/7/365 according to our own plans. This isn’t how it works when you wear a military uniform. Freedom is not free.
The ravages of war take precious lives. It doesn’t matter if you are a conscientious objector, if you don’t see the point of battle, or if you think the military is a nothing more than an arm of politics, the fact is we need our military to defend the land we live in, to protect our borders, and to be peacemakers – even if it means they give up their own life. I’m as much against war as anyone and I pray for peace every day, just like millions of others, but the fact is – war is real. Recently I was listening to a group of people sharing their opinions of the military as an organization. It was apparent that none of them served their country in any capacity – but I bet they will be celebrating Memorial Day with parades, picnics, ball games, and a multiplicity of activities. I guess that’s why I find the term ‘celebrate’ incongruous with Memorial Day.
Galatians 5:13-15 says “It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?”
Memorial Day exists because men and women died so I could be free to move about the planet. I will never take that for granted. Freedom is not free.