Musings on Memorial Day

It seems that every year around this time, there are a number of posts explaining the differences between Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day.  I’ve posted something similar on my own social media platforms.  As a retired military member, it seems like a teachable moment that civilians would see the differences between the three military recognition days.  It seems to offend some people when others don’t know the differences.  

Memorial Day is one to remember those who have fallen.  When fellow citizens wish a “Happy Memorial Day,” it can get some upset.  There’s nothing happy about having lost our comrades in arms.  Nothing happy about remembering and reflecting on those who died as a result of their serve to our Nation.  

I heard a different perspective this last week.  One where the military member said, “Rather than be offended, I’d offer that we should appreciate the spirit in which they offer that.  It comes from a good place, with good intent, from people in our society who don’t understand us but are thankful for what we do.” 

This sentiment is so kind-hearted and simplistic.  Even now while writing about it, I feel chastised for previously thinking I needed to “educate” others on the differences of these dates. Perhaps I need to appreciate the spirit that they offer the comment in.

I’d like to carry that sentiment over to Christian beliefs.  While there are very important central beliefs to Christianity, such as Christ died for each of our sins and we individually have to claim that gift in order to spend eternity in heaven, not every single interaction with others has to be a teachable moment.  I need to repeat that for my own benefit.  Not every interaction has to be an overt teachable moment.  Sometimes the old adage of “actions speak louder than words” is true.  

Like with the non-military member wishing a Happy ‘whatever’ Day and being accepted where they are, the non-Christian’s interactions with Christians could be as simple as observing love and kindness in action.  It doesn’t have to be complicated.  It doesn’t always be a Sunday School lesson or Gospel tract presentation.  The helping hand, the monetary donation, the passing smile…each of those things show others the love of Christ; even when we aren’t actively sharing the Gospel.  

As we reflect on this Memorial Day about the sacrifices of military members through the decades, I’m going to also reflect on how I can better serve our Lord by loving others through my own actions.  

~Emily

“All that you do must be done in love.” ~1 Corinthians 16:14 (NASB)

Dear Army Dad,

Memorial Day, 2021

Dear Army Dad,

Last week I was driving behind you, when I saw your non-descript truck with the personalized license plates: ARMYDAD.  Initially I thought, “What a proud Father that must be to get a personalized plate.”  Then I felt an overwhelming urge to pray for you.

I know that may sound random, but I typically use my 30-40-minute morning commute to chat with God. It’s not that unusual for me to pray for strangers while driving.

The unusual part was that I started to cry.  While praying for you and a hypothetical Army Mom, I also started praying for your Soldier.  I prayed for tactics and knowledge in any situation. I prayed for health and well-being.  I prayed for safety. I prayed for peace and tranquility…for the Soldier and for the parents.  Because John 14:27 (NASB) say, “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful,” I know that your family is able to have that peace. 

I don’t know you, your family, or your Soldier, but I do know that I would never want a parent to face losing a child on a battlefield.  One who is proud enough to get a personalized plate, probably could handle a loss…but it’s not a loss I want you to have. 

2 Timothy 2:3 (NASB) reads, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful people who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him.”

On this Memorial Day, I know that there are parents, siblings, spouses, friends and countless others who are mourning the loss of their military members.  Take comfort in knowing you are not alone…I will stand with you and suffer the hardship in Christ while continuing to pray for you.

Army Dad, keep being proud, keep parenting, and keep praying.  I will too.

~Emily (USAF, Retired)