Memorial Day..It's not about YOU.

Memorial Day..It's not about YOU.

This weekend we get to celebrate Memorial Day. To most it is an extra day off to spend with family and friends at the beach, lake, mountains or wherever you like to hang out.

The origin of Memorial Day dates back to 1868, a time when the United States was coming out of the worst division in American history – the Civil War. Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic declared a “Decoration Day” to honor fallen Union soldiers and decorate their graves on May 30th. Since 1971 it transitioned into being the last Monday of May.

Today we live in a similarly divided country. Many have said that if Trump wins, it will plunge our country into a bitter civil war. Others believe passionately that if Biden wins, then it is the end of America. Either way, the deep partisanship in our country is depressing, and many may lose hope in the America that we all grew up to love. Regardless of the side of the aisle you sit on, honoring the fallen should be a bi-partisan activity. Men and women continue to give their lives affording us freedom like no nation in history has ever known. Remembering the fallen heroes who gave us our freedom may be the therapy we need to heal our nation.

We see countless demonstrations on college campuses that have the stench of antisemitism. Those rallies are funded by anti-American groups and those people are paid to participate. How is that American?

It doesn’t matter if you are anti-military. Monday is a day to remove your bias and spend time honoring the fallen.

Our country has slid into a position where we are completely okay with disrespecting sacrifice and refusing to acknowledge service. It is all about “me”.

“How do I feel? How do you MAKE me feel? Why do my feelings matter. You can’t tell me how to feel. How dare you even disrespect my feelings?!”

Sometimes I just want to pull people aside and, much like Rick Warren did in the first sentence of his best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life, remind them that IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!

If you spend all day focused on yourself, you get depressed. It is only when you focus on others that you begin to live a much more fulfilling life. Our nation is angry, miseducated, self-centered, fat and it is eating itself alive through depression, misguided justice, and a complete lack of gratitude for those who lay their lives down for our nation.

People are drawn to comfort, yet there is NOTHING comfortable about serving in the military. You are made to endure challenging conditions that consistently test your mental and physical wits. Yet these modern day heroes receive very little fanfare when they die, and few if any are remembered while their families sit at home picking up the pieces. Still there are so many Americans who love our country and are willing to pay the last full measure of devotion. There is still hope for us as a people.

My favorite part of Memorial Day Weekend is watching the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS, where you hear story after story of families who lost their heroes. It is the most reverent and respectful couple of hours that always leaves me in tears when I am forced to consider the commitment and sacrifice of these fallen soldiers.

Let us reflect on the words spoken by President Abraham Lincoln at the hallowed ground called Gettysburg:

“The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”

On Monday I challenge you to take a minute and think about the sacrifice of those who lost their lives so we could go hang out on a boat or on a beach. Consider the massive hole that has been left in their family. Lead a discussion with your family. Teach our kids why Memorial Day is so important. Go buy a flower and leave it at the grave site of a Veteran. It won’t take much time from your day, but it will refocus you to remember….and that’s the point.

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