Memorial Day has always symbolized more than its original purpose. It’s supposed to allow us to reflect on the lives of those who died while serving in the armed forces in the United States. We would do well to both remember that and to take a moment to actually do it in some fashion. I personally do not believe this is meant to be a somber day whereby one cannot enjoy all that the long weekend has to offer; but that we remember the price that was paid that gives us the freedom to have all of this fun. I think those who died defending freedom would delight in a sense of satisfaction in knowing that Americans feel secure on this day. This day has also always marked the beginning of summer. As a youngster, this was the day the public swimming pool opened. It was a day for baseball, barbeque and bicycles. It was the time my momma unpacked the summer clothes and packed up the winter ones. (I can still remember opening those bags of clothes as if I were getting something new) And of course, perhaps the most important marker that Memorial Day provided was knowing that school was officially out for the summer. The name Memorial Day really does fit. It is a day full of remembrances. But because of this, we must be cautious. Over the years monuments and markers have been built just to keep us from forgetting those who gave their lives in order that we might enjoy ours. Without these, we might lose focus on the real purpose of this day. We might forget the heroic acts and even the bleak moments when it seemed the worst had come. We must remember these times, and the best way to do that is by building these monuments. We learned this in the Bible. God was always telling his people to build an altar or to stack up stones, or even to write something down. It was mainly for one simple reason – so they would not forget; so that each time, they passed by these monuments, they would remember how God had delivered them or provided for them in a difficult time. We too would be wise to do the same.
Perhaps you are going through a time right now where it seems there is no way out. It may look as if the worst has come, or the end is near It may seem, as it did to Moses, that you have an enemy that is behind you and a vast sea in front of you. Remember, just as God made a way before, He will make a way now. But this time, after He has parted your Red Sea, build a monument so you and others will remember the next time you think victory will never come.
Gary Miller has written Outdoor Truths articles for 20 years. He has also written five books which include compilations of his articles and a father/son devotional. He also speaks at wild-game dinners and men’s events for churches and associations.