The Best Memorial Day Ever!

30 May

Some flag humor …

A visitor from Holland was chatting with his American friend and was jokingly explaining about the red, white and blue in the Netherlands flag.

“Our flag symbolizes our taxes,” the man said. “We get red when we talk about them, white when we get our tax bill, and blue after we pay them.”

“That’s the same with us,” the American said, “only we see stars, too!” *

Memorial Day Flag

How do we best celebrate those who have died to keep our country free?

As I (Dawn) have struggled with some of the news reports I’ve seen in our country of late, I’ve asked God to help me focus this Memorial Day with deeper patriotism ~ deeper love for the country America was meant to be.

First, I will start my day with prayer.  I want to remember those who gave their lives for America. I will thank God for their courage. Thomas Campbell wrote, “The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.” I know we are blessed because men and women did not count their lives as dear as the nation they loved. I will pray for their families who feel the pain of loss. And I will pray that we will live with integrity, even as our heroes died with bravery for the values of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.  I will thank God for our freedom to worship Him in this great nation. I don’t take that lightly.

Then, I will sing. I’ll sing a stanza or two of America’s great anthems: The Star Spangled Banner; My Country, ’tis of Thee (America); and God Bless America. I’ll sing a newer song, too ~ Lee Greenwood’s stirring God Bless the USA: “And I’m proud to be an American, Where at Least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, Who gave that right to me.”

I will fly my flag with pride. Francis Marion Crawford wrote, “They fell, but o’er their glorious grave Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.” The banner of our country is our flag ~ our wonderful red-white-and-blue. I don’t think I’m alone, when viewing a grouping of the world’s flags, that the Star Spangled Banner always catches my attention, and sometimes brings a tear to my eye. I love my flag, and all it represents.

I will shake the hand of our present heroes. Robert G. Ingersoll said, “I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead.” Memorial Day helps us weep for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice; but we must never forget to encourage the living who wear uniforms of military service, and praise our veterans for faithful service. [My father and father-in-love both served in the Navy. Who do you know who served or is serving?]

I will try to teach this generation the glories of our nation. “The story of America’s quest for freedom is inscribed on her history in the blood of her patriots,” Randy Vader said. This generation must know that history. How will they know if we don’t teach the stories … if we don’t tell them?

I will enjoy a time of rest and celebration with my family and friends. We are free in America to gather and celebrate ~ what a blessing! (We’re having a barbeque at the beach!)

I will reflect on service, how I might best serve my country. A past President said it well: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” (John F. Kennedy) And another much-beloved President, Ronald Reagan, urged us, “If words cannot repay the debt we owe these men [and women], surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.” (Remarks, Memorial Day, 1982)

Coming full circle, I will end my day with prayer for my country’s leaders.  The apostle Paul Prayer... America's Hopeexhorted us to pray “for kings and all that are in authority” so that we “may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Who knows that our prayers might stem the tide of foolishness in government, and somehow turn our leaders’ heads and hearts toward God. Prayer and obedience by God’s children may be our only hope (2 Chronicles 7:14). Ronald Reagan also said, “If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

Yes, in spite of all the perils in the world today, we are so blessed … and we can celebrate the Best Memorial Day ever, if we make the effort.

* http://www.gettysburgflag.com/FlagJoke.php

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