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Local

A Memorial Day devotion with a reminder from past presidents

MORRIS – “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” – John 15:13 (NKJV)

Since 1950, the president of the United States has proclaimed Memorial Day as a day of remembrance of those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom. The following excerpts from the Proclamation give us a foundation for this day.

“By the President of the United States of America

A proclamation:

Memorial Day is our Nation’s solemn reminder that freedom is never free. It is a moment of collective reflection on the noble sacrifices of those who gave the last measure of devotion in service of our ideals and in the defense of our Nation. On this ceremonious day, we remember the fallen, we pray for a lasting peace among nations, and we honor these guardians of our inalienable rights.

“On Memorial Day we honor the final resting places of the more than
1 million men and women who sacrificed their lives for our Nation, by decorating their graves with the stars and stripes, as generations have done since 1868. We also proudly fly America’s beautiful flag at our homes, businesses, and in our community parades to honor their memory. In doing so, we pledge our Nation’s allegiance to the great cause of freedom for which they fought and ultimately died.”

Friday, May 26, 2017, hundreds of volunteers walked the grounds of Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and placed a flag upon 38,000 burial sites. Americans gathered with a common belief came together to honor those who gave their life so that freedom and liberty would reign in the hearts of all men and women of this great land.

As I reflected upon the impact of seeing more than 38,000 flags methodically arranged one foot from each gravesite, section after section, row after row, across the rolling hillside, it moves your very soul.

One must pause in our rapid pace of life, realizing the high cost and value of our forefathers’ vision in the Declaration of Independence, …We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

My Son, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chad Cook, was deployed during the Middle East Conflict on four different occasions. Each time I was reminded by Chad if anything should happen to him, a representative of the U.S. Army would come to my home with the news. No letter, no telegram, no phone call but a personal visit.

On a spring day while Chad was deployed to Afghanistan, I was sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. A white sedan with the emblem of the U.S. Government drove slowly by my home.

The car continued on its unknown journey and out of my view. For a moment, brief as it was, it gently reminded me of the reality of conflict, war, evil, and the tremendous cost of our freedom.

On this Memorial Day, may we pause and remember the cost of freedom. May we find comfort in the Word of God found in John 15:13 (NKJV), “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

Almighty God, we pause today to pay tribute to brave men and women who gave all in service to our country. Accept our thanksgiving for their sacrifice and that of their families, which have purchased for us a free land. Cause us never to take for granted their devotion to liberty.

Grant, we pray, joy and fulfillment to those still living; and for those who are at rest, grant thy peace, until men everywhere “shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks . . . and learn of war no more.”

Amen.

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