From the Preacher’s Pen…
Ne ob Livi Caris, is a Latin phrase meaning “Forget not” or “Do not forget.” It has been used for centuries as both a military motto and a military family motto as a reminder to keep, cherish and honor those who have gone before. As Christians, we, above all others, should understand and remember. Think for a moment about…
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day.
Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear – Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:
We cherish too, the Poppy red / That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies / That blood of heroes never dies.
She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Since 1922 the VFW and other veterans’ organizations sell poppies or artificial poppies as a reminder of the day and its importance. (From the website at usmemorialday.org)
Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day (a day to remember all who served). Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving. Sadly, many people think of Memorial Day only as a day for remembering the end of school, the beginning of summer break, get together time with family or even as one of the national BBQ holidays.
But if you ask a combat veteran about the day you would hear of much more poignant memories. Memories of the precious young lives taken much too soon. Lives of the real heroes that gave their all and never came home. Lives given in sacrifice that can, and should, never be forgotten by those who share in the horrors.
This Memorial Day we should take the time to remember the ultimate gift, the ultimate sacrifice given by those young men and women to bring us peace.
Hopefully, you also remember that there is a deep spiritual lesson here, too. As we gather around the Lord’s Table each first day of the week it is an ever fresh, ever painful, ever precious Memorial Day.
Here we remember the Savior who bought our life with His own. As He gave the ultimate sacrifice for us, so the memory is to be cherished above all memories. And we find it almost inconceivable that someone would use that precious time for any lesser purpose… if only they knew, if only they cared.
Of course, our Memorial Day as God’s children has one more item even more precious than any earthly remembrance. We do this, we share this memory in celebration on the very day that He rose again to live forever.
Never forget the precious lives of those heroes that sacrificed so much for us. Remember and honor them this week.
And for the hero of Calvary, the very Son of God who sacrificed for you and me, let us not only remember, but share the precious good news this day and every day of our lives.
Ne ob Livi Caris, “Do not forget!”
— Lester P. Bagley