Summary: On Memorial day, we remember and honor those who have stood in the gap between freedom and tyranny. We also are reminded that we are called to stand in the gap for our faith in God.
Standing In The Gap
Intro: I 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 are forgetful.
. At one time in my life I was taking Ginko-biloba for my memory. I t never really did me much good, I kept forgetting to take it.
. Our lives get busy and we forget things.
. Tomorrow is Memorial day. A day of remembering.
. Many people seem to forget what Memorial day is all about.
. For many,It’s a time for picnics and ball games and the first big day on the lakes.
. It is all of that and more but the reason for the holiday is so important. It is a day to stop and honor and remember those who have given their lives so that we can have picnics and not worry about a suicide bomber.
. A day to remember those who have died for our freedom to assemble here this morning.
. Christians are being persecuted all over the world but because of the heroes that we remember on this holiday, we do not have that persecution here in America.
. Just two days ago, Christians were mobbed in Israel, Christian churches were burned by reported radical Jewish sects.
. Thank God and our heroes that has not come to our great country yet.
.As you drive around America, you can find memorials to our heroes everywhere. I would like to share a story on one of them this morning.
. World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he was returning to the mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold. A squadron of Japanese aircraft were speeding their way toward the American fleet.
The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was defenseless. He couldn’t reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber’s blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly.
Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O’Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival he reported in and related the event surrounding his return.
The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch’s daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had in fact destroyed five enemy aircraft.
This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy’s first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O’Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.