Summary: A Memorial Day Sermon. We should be building memorials before God in prayer and service.
Sunday, May 30, 2010 – AM
By Pastor James May
The USS New York was built with steel from the rubble of the World Trade Center after the attacks on 9/11/2001. It was launched in November of 2009. 7 1/2 tons of twisted and mangled steel from ground zero had been melted down to form the bow of the new ship as “a symbol of our unshakable resolve”. The ship cost $1 billion to build and will carry 360 sailors and 700 combat ready marines.
The USS New York was built at the shipyards in New Orleans by a lot of workers who had lost homes and businesses because of Hurricane Katrina. They had to rebuild their lives and their homes at the same time as they built the ship.
Two more ships like the USS New York are under construction as well; the USS Arlington, built to memorialize the attack on the Pentagon, and the USS Somerset, named after the Pennsylvania county where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed.
The vast majority of memorials that man builds and creates are somehow connected with wars and the price that Americans have paid for the freedoms that we all enjoy.
The Minuteman Statue found on the Lexington Green in Massachusetts marks the first major encounter of American militia, made of farmers, shopkeepers and citizen soldiers, who fought and defeated nearly 1000 soldiers of the super power of the day, King George’s redcoats of the British Army. This marked the birth of a nation that would be established on equal rights for every man.
But equal rights was harder to come by for some Americans. Black people were never given equality until President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The memorials shown here are from the Battle of Gettysburg where 51,000 men died in three days trying to determine whether all men were truly going to be equal.
The newest, and perhaps the largest memorial in our nation is the National World War II memorial that is divided into Atlantic and Pacific theaters. Only the Atlantic side is shown here. The memorial marks the sacrifices of millions of Americans who are called ‘The Greatest Generation” because they fought and conquered aggression around the world and paid a heavy price for our freedom. Many of you here lived in that time and you know that no memorial could truly honor the many who gave their lives. When you look at national cemeteries, with thousands upon thousands of white grave markers in perfect alignment, almost as far as you can see, you are truly moved by the sacrifice in lives that it has cost for us to be here today and those fallen heroes deserve all of the honor that we can give to them.
Just a few years later we were caught up in another conflict called the Korean War and a new memorial has been built to honor those who fought there as well. It depicts a squad of infantry soldiers as they are walking through the fields on patrol.
For 10 years there was a war that America should never have fought, and would love to forget ever happened, but because millions of soldiers served there and over 58,000 died, it cannot be erased from our history. The Vietnam Wall was built to honor those who fought and died in the most unpopular war in American history.
It has been almost nine years since President George W. Bush declared war on terrorism after the 9/11 attacks. Since then we have sent many young men to Afghanistan and Iraq, and the fighting still continues to this day with no end in sight. And the threats of Iran and North Korea still loom on the horizon, so a time of peace, when young Americans will no longer have to fight for our freedom and safety is nowhere in sight. Right now I have a grandson that is in the Marines and I pray for his safety as well as the safety of all of our soldiers every day. We hate to send them off to possibly face battle but someone will always have to pay the price for our freedom; and we must do our share.
Though no national memorials are yet constructed, to my knowledge, honoring the fallen heroes of Afghanistan and Iraq, there are smaller memorials and battlefield memorials in their honor; and someday there will be national memorials for these soldiers as well. They deserve our honor as much as any other soldiers who have served our nation.
The latest records show that American soldiers are still paying the price for our freedom. There has been 1007 in Afghanistan and 4399 in Iraq who have died in the line of duty.
Memorial Day is tomorrow of course, and it is a good thing to pause for a moment during the day and thank God for those who are defending our freedom; and pray for those who are bearing arms in your defense at this very moment. It is also a good time to let people know that you are a true American patriot by flying your American flag and showing your support for our nation. We have our problems; plenty of them; but there is still no place on earth that I would rather be than in America. As long as I am a pilgrim and a stranger in this world; I’m glad that God allowed me to travel through this life as an American citizen.