America will observe Memorial Day on Monday, May 25. Traditionally, Memorial Day weekend is regarded as the beginning of the summer season, a time when many Americans have an extra day off from work, go on vacation or host backyard cookouts with family, friends and neighbors. Of course, this Memorial Day is going to look very different because of the impacts of COVID-19.
While weekend plans may have changed for many, Memorial Day itself has not. In fact, I think staying put on Memorial Day will allow us greater time for reflection on the day’s significance.
Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor the men and women of our Armed Forces who have laid down their lives in service to our country. They answered the call to protect our freedom, and they paid the ultimate price.
Because of the past and present sacrifices of the members of our Armed Forces, we have the freedom to worship, to speak our minds and to gather together. As a pastor and evangelist, I am so thankful I have the ability to openly share the hope of Jesus with others. In many countries around the world, pastors and evangelists do not have that right. Instead, they are forced to have “underground” or “house” churches, which God continues to use mightily. Sadly, we are often so accustomed to our freedom here in America that we take it for granted. We fail to honor our heroes.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines a “hero” as “one who shows great courage.” But I’d like to expand this definition. I believe a hero is not only someone who is courageous, but someone who makes a sacrifice, who regards the interests and well-being of others as greater than his or her own. Someone who is even willing to die for others — someone like Army Staff Sgt. Travis W. Atkins.
On June 1, 2007, Staff Sgt. Atkins was leading a squad charged with securing a town in northern Iraq when he was informed that two suspected insurgents had been spotted nearby. Atkins’ team intercepted the two insurgents and ordered them to stop and be searched. But when Atkins approached them, they resisted and the situation quickly escalated to hand-to-hand combat, with Atkins trying to wrestle one of them into submission.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Greg Laurie