If you ever get the chance to go to Washington, DC, you have to make time to go to Arlington National Cemetery. The fields are full of white crosses lined perfectly in rows across beautiful hills. You can walk for hours around the cemetery and still not see every cross. It’s a sobering reminder of so many who gave their life in service of this country. When you walk around the cemetery, you also notice the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, in every kind of weather, men and women guard the unknown soldiers who gave their all.
There’s also a wall in DC that has the names of those who died in Vietnam. It is over 246 feet long and contains over 58,000 names of soldiers who died in that war or went musing in action. As you walk along beside it, there are people with paper and pencils who find the name of a loved one and create a rubbing of it to take as a souvenir. It’s their way of remembering the person who sacrificed so much for this country. I remember tearing up as I read the names and watched people visit this wall. I didn’t know a name on it, but God knows every one.
On Memorial Day, we set aside time as a nation to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our way of life. Whether you agree with war or not, whether you agree with the politicians who sent these soldiers over seas or not, take moment today to honor those soldiers who died giving you the right to express that opinion. So many places in this world, so many “free” countries don’t give their citizens the right to have a dissenting opinion of the government or it’s officials. Our military members stand guard each day to protect our borders, our way of life and our freedoms.
As the saying goes, “All gave some. Some gave all.” Today, we say thank you to those who gave all. We pray for families who lost a mother, father, son, daughter, husband, wife, brother or sister. While we light up the grill and lay by the pool, they grieve over a family that is forever changed. It’s not just the soldier who paid a high price, the family did as well. If you know a family who has paid that price, send them a text or Facebook message to say thank you. Let them know their sacrifice isn’t forgotten and it wasn’t in vain. Honor them today by showing your appreciation.
Romans 13:7 in the ESV says to pay “respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” Today, amid all the fun and sun, find your own way to pay respect and honor to the fallen soldiers. Find a way to say thank you. If you see an active duty military person, shake their hand, say thank you, teach your children to respect them and to honor their service. One day they may be called up on pay the ultimate price for you and they will willingly go and pay it whether you agree with them or not because that’s what they do. They honor us with their lives, we honor them with our appreciation.