Maybe it is a sign of advancing age, maybe it is a sign of increasing patriotism, or maybe it's simply nostalgia. I could choose any one of the above, but for some reason this Memorial Day has really had an impact on me. I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about the numbers of men and women who've died protecting our freedoms. In addition to those who've died in the service to our country are the thousands who've returned to our shores in vegetative states or with drastically changed qualities of life--many of them requiring care 24/7. They and their families have also paid a very high price.
The first Memorial Day I lived in Grand Rapids, I drove past the Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens in the suburb of Kentwood. I was amazed at the way it had been decorated for Memorial Day. This past Saturday I drove out there to take pictures. Although there are several separate gardens that make up this one huge cemetery, I was particularly drawn to the one that honors veterans. There are statues of people representing each branch of our military, with flags waving nearby. What an impressive sight this was to me!
Yesterday evening at church the veterans from each of the wars and conflicts were recognized and given the opportunity to share a testimony of their time in the military. Some told how the Lord preserved them, even though they didn't know Him at the time. One man told of starting a church in Japan while there in the military. He went on to spend his life as a missionary planting churches throughout the US. Some told of how the GI bill allowed them the opportunity to come home and get further education.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to these men and women. If there are any veterans reading this, please allow me to express my appreciation to you for the service you rendered to our country, and by extension, to me.
And please don't forget to thank the Lord for His blessing on America, in spite of the fact that we really don't deserve it.