When I was growing up, Memorial Day marked the end of a frantic time in our family business. It was the gateway to summer’s long days, although in Colorado it was not unheard of to get snow in late May.
Nowadays, Memorial Day means we have arrived at the unrelenting heat and humidity that is a southern summer. Lightning bugs are here, June bugs are next. The croaking of the frogs gives way to the hum of the cicadas. Spring storms have ceased and rain will become sporadic until the hurricanes unleash their fury farther south and push inland with enough force to bring us the cooling rains of autumn.
But more than the seasonal change, this holiday has become more precious to me as I’ve gotten older, and I’ve witnessed acts of terrorism on our soil, and wars that have no end in sight, fought to keep us free. So now every day, but especially today, I stop to cherish my freedom
I go where I want, never wondering if I’m going to be detained.
I worship God freely and without worry, and I can share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.
I can shop where I choose, buy what I wish, without fear that someone is monitoring my every move.
I am able to express my political opinions, unfettered and without equivocation. I can choose which news broadcasts I will watch, and I have many choices to obtain the news, some of which I agree with, and others I do not. But I can choose.
I enjoy these freedoms because for over 225 years, brave men and many women have laid down their lives to provide and protect these freedoms for the generations before mine, and I pray, for the generations that are yet to come.
May God’s tender mercies and providence be with our armed forces and their families. They have sacrificed in ways that are impossible for me to imagine. We see the images, and they are poignant, but it is still difficult for us to fully grasp the full import of the loneliness, the fear, and the grief that are exacted as the price tag for my freedom and yours.
When we feel the need to assert our “rights,” let us always remember to thank those who have stood at the ready to defend us and our way of life.
A blessed and peaceful Memorial Day to all.