Summary: A Memorial Day sermon with an emphasis on being a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 2:1-5 KJV Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. [2] And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. [3] Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. [4] No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. [5] And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.


A. General Information About Memorial Day

-Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May. It was formerly known as Decoration Day. It originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War.

-It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan. The first observation was on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873.

-It is important for us to observe as Americans and understand the true meaning of Memorial Day. The National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed in December 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."

-The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.

B. Return to Remembering

-But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. The Veterans of Foreign Wars stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."

-We lose as a nation when we fail to remember the price that was paid for our freedom.

-Oliver Wendell Holmes immortalized a fallen soldier in a poem quoted in a Memorial Day speech at Harvard in 1895 entitled "The Soldier's Faith". In fact, Theodore Roosevelt admired that 1895 speech so much that as President he nominated Holmes for the US Supreme Court.

-Holmes in the 1895 speech spoke of "part of the soldier's faith: Having known great things, to be content with silence." He cited this poem as "a little song sung by a warlike people on the Danube, which seemed to me fit for a soldier's last word...a song of the sword in its scabbard, a song of oblivion and peace. A Soldier has been buried on the battlefield."

And when the wind in the tree-tops roared,

The soldier asked from the deep dark grave:

"Did the banner flutter then?"

"Not so, my hero," the wind replied.

"The fight is done, but the banner won,

Thy comrades of old have borne it hence,

Have borne it in triumph hence."

Then the soldier spake from the deep dark grave:

"I am content."

Then he heareth the lovers laughing pass,

and the soldier asks once more:

"Are these not the voices of them that love,

That love--and remember me?"

"Not so, my hero," the lovers say,

"We are those that remember not;

For the spring has come and the earth has smiled,

And the dead must be forgot."

Then the soldier spake from the deep dark grave:

"I am content."

C. A Challenge to Remember

-Memorial Day is also the unofficial beginning of summer. One of the greatest things you can do to remember is to read some books this summer about various wars and the commitment of the soldiers involved in them.

-I can recommend the following books to you:

• Stephen Ambrose—Anything he has written about World War II which is multiple books. In fact, I would encourage you to visit the D-Day Museum in New Orleans if you have the chance to do so.

• Hugh Ambrose—The Pacific—Story of the Pacific Theater covering Guadalcanal to the assault at Iwo Jima.

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