Pastor, Peabody Bible Church
We are a nation built upon sacrifice, and most significant is the sacrifice made by men and women who wear the uniforms of our military. The hardships faced by these patriots are known by few others but should be respected by all; for many American soldiers have given that “last full measure of devotion” — their lives. Memorial Day is as uniquely theirs as is the headstone that bears their names.
Different opinions exist about the origins of Memorial Day but the practice of honoring the graves of fallen soldiers stretches back to the Civil War. Today, this unique observance honors the dead from all wars.
Casualties are the highest price of war. While Memorial Day provides some opportunity to debate about the sense or senselessness of wars, this holiday should remind us all of the people who died fighting in them. We are reminded that all gave some and some gave all. Freedoms have been produced and preserved because of the dedication of all soldiers, especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives.
The lingering echo of “Taps” announces that those who died shall not be forgotten. And whether folded and held close to a next-of-Kin’s heart or fluttering in the breeze in the heart of a cemetery or draped over the casket of a soldier whose heart no longer beats, the flag calls us to remember that “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”