During the month of May there is many activities that will command our attention and participation. There are graduations, weddings, Mother’s Day, National Day of Prayer and Memorial Day. How e choose to celebrate these special events is just as important. There are two specifically that I want to highlight in this article. My choices are Mother’s Day and Memorial Day.
Mother’s Day is always a high point for families and church sermons. The moms are recognized and applauded for their great effort in raising children, keeping the household running smoothly and their own professional accomplishments in or outside the home. All well-deserved accolades; my focus really is on Memorial Day. It used to be called Decoration Day, a day that was initially set aside to remember the Civil War soldiers and their high cost of battle. It became officially Memorial Day in 1971. Major General John Logan, and representatives of the Grand Army of the Republic, observed Decoration Day at Arlington National Cemetery, by decorating the graves of the Union soldiers. Other places have claimed to be the originator of the day; one such place was in Columbus Mississippi, while placing wreaths on the Confederate graves, in plain sight were graves of the Union soldiers left barren; so the women also placed wreaths on the Union graves as well. In the passing of time Decoration Day came to be seen as a day of reconciliation for the nation, as well as honoring the dead.
No many of you know that I just returned from a trip from Washington D.C.; where I was able to take in many of the memorials that our nation has erected to recognize the many military personnel who have fought and died for our country. I was left with many emotions as I viewed each of the major war tributes to the fallen. I believe that it is absolutely essential to continue to recognize the Fallen Soldiers who fought for the “rights” of all people to be treated equally and fairly within our borders as well as foreign soils.
As a retired military man, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the vast innumerable graves that dotted the land side overwhelmed me. I stood watching and listening to the dedicated Marines pace back and forth in front of the Tomb. I was equally impressed with the hush that enveloped the crowd of spectators. It reminded me of how important that every person’s life is in the scheme of things. Often the Unnamed go unnoticed. Rather than being identified, they can quickly become just statistics on a piece of paper. I am proud that out nation continues to revere the men and women of our armed forces.
Today the world we find ourselves living in is a very confusing one. It seems that so many are fighting for their OWN individual rights. But this bothers me for the pursuit of personal rights and freedoms and deteriorated the rights and freedoms of the masses. We live in a day when the rights of the minority override the betterment for all of mankind.
When I apply the various institutional and systemic battlegrounds I cannot but help think about “what are we really fighting for anymore?” I say we, because while I am retired from our countries military, I am still a Soldier. I am a soldier of the Cross. Again, when I read the scriptures, I read about love for God, fellow man and the betterment of the world. The Gospel is that power, not kings, queens and presidents. It is the Lordship of Jesus in our lives, being visible to others which make the difference.
In light of the presidential election that looms over our nation; so many are fighting for things that are surface issues, not core issues. I grant you that our election will determine much of the future for United States, but also for the world. I have always viewed the USA as the model for the world to see, that may be a bit naïve. America use to be a place where all people could feel a self-respect and honor. Now I know we haven’t always gotten it right, the Civil War is a clear example of that. But I am perplexed at the state of our Union. Instead of being a “light of the Gospel” it seems that there is a dark ominous cloud hanging over America. We all know there are many issues – mostly cultural issues that have really divided the people. Depending on your perspective, you will view these issues as absurd or worthy of the fight. As I looked across the grave filled cemetery of Arlington, there was a sense of pride and joy for a nation that got some things right. I walked away as a multi-faceted soldier and wondered to myself, are we just fighting battles, having already lost the war?
Some of you may think this is just a political-laced article, I hope not. Something I was reminded of recently – “If we desire to change our communities and country’s moral and ethically culture, we have to first change the culture of our churches.” It starts with us, soldiers of the Cross must wage war against the adversary – I think we have lost who the real adversary is; let us fight the “Good Fight” – and know what we are fighting for!