Memorial Day: Will We Hide It from the Next Generation?
“We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders He has done. Psalm 78:4
“Fourscore and seven years ago is how it begins. How many readers know what I am talking about? How many of your children or grandchildren do? These were the beginning words of a speech once considered worthy enough for American school children by the millions to memorize as a requirement in their curriculum. Not any more. Yet the greater concern arising from a willing amnesia of the honorable past is this: How many of us have genuine appreciation for the meaning and purpose of Memorial Day, celebrated this Monday, May 26th? Do we who live in 21st Century America believe we stand on the shoulders of those who went before us; enjoying the benefits of liberty won at the cost of ultimate sacrifice? Or do we believe, that is, should I say, without giving it any thought do we take for granted that our precious freedoms are ours by birthright; something we deserve, and certainly not anything for which we owe gratitude, remembrance, and devotion? Goodness gracious, is this something for which we should devote any amount of time on our holiday?
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, considered one of the greatest speeches in American history, is noteworthy, not only for its remarkable brevity, but for its elegant expression of the true character of a nation grateful for its authentic blessings. Being just a few words over 17 typed lines of text, the speech lends itself to meditative thought upon each sentence. What is more it is of such content and character that the Christian should see its relevance to Psalm 78. Do we consider the forming and sustaining of our American nation a praiseworthy deed of the Lord? And do we consider the deeds that America has been used by God to perform in the world a result of His work? This is not to equate America with the church, or with the New Earth promised in the future. We know we are sinners, but we also know we are a nation blessed by God and under Him. We can properly give praise to God for His sovereign providence in guiding the affairs of this nation through the years. And we can be grateful for those fellow citizens who died on the battlefield to preserve liberty and the freedoms associated with it, including the freedom of worship.
President Lincoln said, “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We too today are engaged in a war that is testing whether we can continue to endure as a nation of liberty and for liberty in our world. This is not only a war against Islamic jihadists who seek to destroy true liberty here and everywhere. We are engaged in a war in our own nation for the continuance of freedom of worship and freedom of speech. It is under assault in the name of tolerance and political correctness, multi-culturalism and an interpretation of the “separation of church and state clause seeking to remove Christianity from the public market place.
Let me make a suggestion for Memorial Day: Go to the grave of an American warrior, to a VA Cemetery, or any cemetery and take a copy of The Gettysburg Address (you can “Google it on your computer). Take your family with you. Read it aloud and carefully at the grave sites. Then thank God in prayer for our liberty won with the cost of blood, sweat, and tears, and, yes, the very lives of those who sacrificially fought to preserve it. God is glorified with such honor and devotion. This is a biblically worthy activity, and it is a good thing for you, and for developing in your children, and your grandchildren, godly character. We will not hide these honorable sacrifices and their worthy intent from the next generation!
“Heavenly Father, I am deeply grateful for the sacrifices made for me and my family. May I honorably manifest such gratefulness this Memorial Day and everyday.
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