By Dr. Kevin Payne, Palmerdale United Methodist Church
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 (NIV)
Memorial Day weekend has become the marker signifying the start of summer. We look forward to camping at state parks, taking a trip to the beach to feel the sand between our toes, floating in the swimming pool, and grilling out with family and friends. Memorial Day weekend kicks-off this glorious time of year.
But sometimes the start of summer overshadows the reason Memorial Day weekend exists. I realized this most profoundly when I saw a sign on a business door that read, “Happy Memorial Day!” I’m not sure that is quite the most appropriate greeting for the day.
Memorial Day is a day set aside specifically to remember and give thanks for the men and women who have died in service to our country. It’s sad, I know. Doesn’t really invoke feelings of a party, does it? It is a day to remember those we have promised to never forget; those we have told their sacrifice is not in vain.
But, I also can’t think of a better way to remember than to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy.
So this Memorial Day Weekend go ahead and enjoy a getaway to the beach. Go visit your favorite Alabama State Park (please…so they don’t get closed!) invite your family, friends, and neighbors over to share in a cookout and the opening of your pool for summer. Celebrate and revel in all that these men and women have died to ensure, preserve, and defend.
Just, if I may make one request, when you do, do so remembering those who have died to ensure us this freedom. Pause a moment to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for them, and ask a blessing for their families who live without them. May we never take the right to have such a summer celebration, or any of our freedoms, for granted.
Those who have died have laid down their lives for us. They are more than Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen or Coast Guardsmen – they are our brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, sons and daughters. They are our friends – and there is no greater love than when one lays down their life for their friends.
Let’s remember our friends.