Many people confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day. While Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day and observed on Nov. 11) honors all military veterans who have served in the United States Armed Forces, Memorial Day is a federal holiday honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died in the performance of their military duties.
Today is Memorial Day, and as I think about what the day means to me, I cannot express it any other way than the first time I donned the uniform issued or even my first set of dress blues in boot camp. I truly got emotional and would get goosebumps every time I wore our nation’s uniform. I still get emotional when I hear our national anthem.
A willingness to sacrifice for freedom
It is unexplainable to know I was given an opportunity to serve and fight alongside so many who would have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect this great country in selfless dedication to the pursuit of freedom and liberty. They were from all walks of life, every ethnicity, every race, every religion, but we all had one common bond, which was to defend our nation and to protect one another.
I am an extreme patriot for our country. When I wore my uniform while serving, I would have given my life for this country and for any of the brothers and sisters I served alongside. This willingness to sacrifice for freedom was an unwritten code. We all accepted this oath and commitment.
Jesus voluntarily sacrficed his life to save us
We see a parallel to this in the Bible. When thinking about Memorial Day, we should also remember the sacrificial death of our Savior Jesus Christ.
As I think about those who died protecting our freedoms in America, I am reminded of the king who came to free us from servitude to sin and its consequences. Christ did battle with Satan, ultimately paying the price of death on the cross. Jesus voluntarily laid down his life to pay the wages of our sin, so we could be saved from wrath and have eternal life.
We are free because of Christ's sacrifice
Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice and because of that act of love, we are free. Billy Graham once said, “If we are to be strong spiritually, it will be through him. Thousands today are finding a fresh, new meaning of life through him. They are learning to say with confidence, ‘I can do all things through Christ, which strengthened me.’ We can best keep faith with those who have gone before by keeping faith with ourselves, with our highest ideals and with God.”
Because Jesus showed us what a sacrificial love is, it is why today on Memorial Day we honor those who served in the military and sacrificed their lives for love and freedom.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” –1 John 3:16
Written by Brian Robbins, vice president and chief operating officer for Buckner Retirement Services.