Monday is Memorial Day.
The holiday had its beginning after the Civil War and was set aside as a day of remembrance for both Union and Confederate soldiers who died in our nation’s bloodiest war.
Of course, the remembrance has been expanded to include all of those who have died while serving in our armed forces. (Veteran’s Day honors all, living or dead, who have served.)
Some things we do well to remember.
We do well to remember that freedom is not a commodity bestowed by any nation or government, however benevolent; freedom is the gift of God freely given to every human being created in his image.
We do well to remember that the responsibility of nations is to safeguard the freedom-gift God has already given.
We do well to remember that freedom is not a commodity to be confiscated or denied by a despotic nation or government; freedom is the birthright bestowed by our Creator.
We do well to remember that the freedom God has embedded in human hearts not only survives, it can thrive even in the hearts of those living under outward imprisonment and persecution.
We do well to remember that the freedom which is deep joy and delight to those who cherish it even in the midst of oppression spells failure and destruction to those who live in deep fear of it.
We do well to remember that the same freedom which warms, ennobles, and inspires free hearts instills terror and doom in atrophied and twisted souls frenzied in their futile efforts to quell its tide.
We do well to remember that God’s gift of freedom, so precious that it makes life worth living, also makes life worth laying down so that others may live in its light.
We do well to remember the deep truth of our nation’s “Declaration of Independence,” that we are “endowed by our Creator” not only with life, but with liberty, God’s gift, and the gift of no other.
We do well to remember that the most precious blessings we have enjoyed in this nation have God’s gift of freedom as their life-giving root, their strong foundation.
We do well to remember and acknowledge that a deep love of freedom, though it lies in the hearts of all people, is particularly embedded in hearts of those living in a land built unashamedly on a foundation of freedom.
We do well to remember that those who scoff at God, deny his existence, flaunt his will, and deride anything he calls precious, are free to do so precisely and only because they live in a land whose founders honored God as freedom’s Source.
We do well to remember that thousands of men and women have died so that freedom which is the precious birthright of hearts may also be the outward reality of seemingly ordinary lives.
On ordinary days, national holidays, all days—we do well to remember.
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Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.