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Summary: Three things to remember on Memorial Day

Memorial Day – 2014

May 26, 2014

Hebrews 13:1-3

“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are ill-treated as if you yourselves were suffering.”

Today is a day of remembrance. Memorial Day began as an occasion to honor and celebrate Union Soldiers who died serving their country during the Civil War. Memorial Day was inspired by the way people honored their dead in the southern States and after the end of World War I, Memorial Day was extended to include all American men and women who died serving their country in any military action or war.

On Memorial Day people often read a poem honoring fallen veterans or look up their family history and honor those in their family who have served our country. Many people go to the cemeteries and put American flags on veteran’s graves, that’s why it was known as Decoration Day for a while. I know our Sheriff is visiting two cemeteries in Weed today to honor the fallen veterans and people are doing that or something similar all over the country.

It is traditional to have a picnic/barbecue on Memorial Day and we are going to do that right after church. I brought extra hamburgers and hot dogs if you forgot. Memorial Day is kind of the unofficial – official first day of summer. The kids are chomping at the bit to get out of school and this weekend is traditionally the first campout of the year.

I am kind of partial to patriotic days. I come from a long line of patriots dating all the way back to the American Revolution. I have the discharge papers of my great, great grandfather, Daniel Adams. He served in the 8th Independent Battery, Wisconsin Light Artillery. He mustered out, August 10, 1865 at age of 28.

My grandfather, John Grossman, fought in the trenches of France in World War I. My Dad fought in the Pacific in World War II. My brother and I served in the Vietnam era. Both of us were exposed to agent orange – he in Vietnam in the Navy and me in the army on the DMZ in Korea. My son served in the army as an airborne combat team member and probably was the most decorated of any of us. The many cousins, uncles and nephews who served are too numbers to list. Some are serving as we speak and every war or conflict had at least one or two of our family members in it.

Consequently, it is important to me to honor our veterans. I honor every veteran. Service in the military changes your life. You give the best years of your life to your country. Some give the ultimate sacrifice but all sacrifice whether they are stationed during time of peace or a time of war. Never forget those who made that sacrifice for you and your freedom. But today is a day to remember those who died while serving their country. Probably most people won’t stop to remember. They are too busy; or maybe they are like this guy I kind of relate to now. Maybe you have heard about a guy named John who had a serious memory problem. One day John ran into a friend he had not seen in a long time. He greeted him and said, “Bill, do you remember what a bad memory I had?” Bill answered, “Yes, I certainly do.” “Well, it’s not bad any more. I went to a seminar that taught us how to remember things. It was great, and now I have a wonderful memory.”

Bill answered, “That’s great! What was the name of the seminar?” “Well,” John said, “wait a minute, my wife went with me. I’ll ask her.” He turned and saw his wife nearby.

Then he turned back to Bill and said, “What’s the name of that flower with a long stem and thorns and a red bloom?” “Do you mean a rose?” Bill answered. “Yeah, thanks,” John said. “Hey, Rose, what’s the name of that seminar we attended?”

Some people just forget. We get to busy or we distracted or we just have a problem remembering. But we need to choose to remember our fallen heroes.

We do that by flying flags – some do it at half-mast. A good way to honor our fallen heroes is to just celebrate life by living well. Remember the movie saving Private Ryan? There is a poignant moment in the movie where Ryan, an old man now, weeps and whispers that he hopes he’s lived up to the Captain’s wish and lived a life worthy of all that the men who came to save him did for him. He then tearfully asks his wife to tell him that he's led a good life and that he's a good man.

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