Here in the United States, today marks ‘Decoration’, or as most know it ‘Memorial’ Day. Celebrated for many years on May 30th, this is another day that has fallen prey to the madness of ‘three-day-holiday’ syndrome. The Civil War, a battle that ripped our nation apart was over and the tombs of soldiers on both side lay as a reminder of just how close our nation came to falling. Whatever your chosen side there was, and is, no true ‘winning’ for the families of those who lose loved ones. This, then, is the day chosen to decorate the graves and remember the lost.
I was not involved with my husband during Vietnam. I am, instead, part of the ‘clean up’ crew who deals with nighttime perimeter checks, nightmares, loud noise reactions, etc….not to mention the medical issues.
We can’t go into a store without someone coming up to thank him for his service when he is wearing his Vietnam Veteran hat…which is a mixed blessing. You see, having been spit at when he first returned, now people are trying to give veterans the welcome that the Vietnam veterans missed.
It’s nice but they are missing the point. Those who served in Vietnam were drafted into the military. Those that served today are not. They choose to serve..and, either way, military service is a far different lifestyle than what is portrayed on television or other media. And, while the thanking may be nice, and make both the one giving the thanks and the one accepting it feel good for the moment, it diminishes the true service as ‘serving’ encompasses not simply the soldier but also the parents, siblings, friends, relatives, and lovers who deal with the different, but just as stressful side-effects of the person on alert at all times for battle–wherever they may be stationed.
Men AND women (don’t forget the brave women who served/are serving, please!) SHOULD undertake this duty out of a sense of responsibility for their country–not for politics, heroics, finances, or some yearning to complete a popular ‘mission’. The sole purpose for anyone bent on taking up arms for their country should be an allegiance to protect and support the freedoms most in this country take for granted: freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, petition, and press–along with the others in our Bill of Rights.
As Christians, we possess freedoms. The freedom of grace and mercy with the assurance that our sins do not weigh us down and make us unworthy in God’s sight. Christians have the ability to wipe the slate clean by going to God and claiming the words of the hymn: “Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.” as written by Elvina M. Hall and asking for forgiveness.
Revelation 1: 5 & 6-And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Today may be Decoration/Memorial Day in the USA, but those of us who swear our allegiance to Jesus Christ are decorated with His saving blood forever, proclaiming Him in an army around the world that walks by faith rather than by sword–for while we are forgiven and march on here, our true home is not of this earth.