Memorial Day pays tribute to the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces. Don’t forget to say prayers of tribute and hope for peace this holiday weekend.
Memorial Day is an American holiday celebrated the last Monday in May and pays tribute to the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day due to the decorating of fallen soldiers’ graves, it was first celebrated in 1868 to remember the soldiers who gave their lives during the Civil War.
Once becoming a federal holiday in 1971, the holiday changed to recognize military persons who died in all wars. Today Memorial Day parades are annual traditions in small towns and major cities alike, usually involving active members of the military and veterans. Many cemeteries still decorate graves with American flags to commemorate those who lost their lives in war.
In memory of …
When someone dies, there are numerous ways to keep the person’s memory alive. Crafting a memorial service, sharing photographs, creating a temporary memorial in a public place, and posting an online tribute are means by which individuals ensure that their loved ones are remembered. Memorialization frees those who are grieving so they can begin to live without the physical presence of those they have lost. Being intentional with remembrance is especially important during the pandemic when thousands of personal tragedies have been experienced among loved ones unable to be present with each other in the usual ways.
Remembering the good
While memorials are often associated with loss and death, some tokens and structures also mark positive events in the lives of the living. Coins help members of Alcoholics Anonymous remember how long they have been sober. Statues are erected to celebrate famous athletes. Diplomas are awarded at graduation and plaques are presented to recognize one’s retirement. As important as it is to memorialize those we have lost, it is just as important to take time to remember God’s positive actions in our lives — individually and collectively.
Don’t forget. Whether you celebrate Memorial Day with a somber ceremony or a family picnic, take some time to think about how God has blessed you in the past year and find a way to keep that memory fresh in your mind.
Question of the day: What methods do you use to remember things?
Key scriptures: Joshua 3:14–4:9; Exodus 17:8-16; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34