There are eleven Federal Holidays that are recognized in the United States. Memorial Day is one of them. What comes to mind when Memorial Day rolls around each year? Do you think of BBQs? Just another three-day weekend? If I work on Monday, could I get triple time? An opportunity to binge a Netflix movie series? Will there be great sales of appliances at Lowe’s? What comes to mind?
On the last Monday of May, we have the opportunity to remember and honor the people who gave it all for this country. Many years ago, while I was Senior Pastor at New Hope Community Church, El Monte, I wanted to connect with people outside the walls of the church. I decided I was going to volunteer in my city of El Monte, so I signed up to be a Commissioner for the City of El Monte. I was eventually contacted by one of the council members and asked if I would serve on the Patriotic Commission.
My answer was a huge Yes!
I thought, what a wonderful way to honor my father, who served in the Army during World War II and was stationed in the Southwest Pacific. I served on a team of about 10 people, both men, and women, and they were all patriots, and some even served in the military. These were wonderful people who just loved this country. You know what? With all the problems we may encounter here in America, it is still a fantastic country. We may have people in the thousands leaving California (taxes, inflation, gas prices, silly policies), but you do not hear people leaving America. Why is that? What started off as the Great Experiment is what has made America what it is today!
When I think of America, I think of the freedoms we get to enjoy every single day, and yes, “Let Freedom Ring!” These freedoms just did not happen. Our men and women serving in our military around the world did what can best be described as the greatest example of love as they secured our freedoms with their lives. We have freedom of speech, freedom to protest, freedom to bear arms, and let us not forget our freedom of Religion and so much more! There is not any country that is like the United States, even though we may not look united all the time.
This brings me to another freedom, the freedom to vote. If you do not like the direction our elected politicians are taking us, instead of complaining, you should exercise your freedom to vote.
This Memorial Day, let me encourage you to find out what Memorial Day events are happening in your community and take the whole family to watch, learn and participate with a thankful heart. The Bible says in 1st Thessalonians 5:18, “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This is not a day to say Happy Memorial Day to one another; rather this is a day to give reflection with a grateful heart to the men and women of our various branches of the military who died to secure our freedoms from all past wars. Jesus said it best in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” It is a day set aside each year to reflect, to be grateful for those American soldiers who died on our behalf. This is what Memorial Day is all about. May God continue to Bless these United States of America!
Gil serves as the Director of Missions for the Gold Coast Baptist Association. He is a Count the Cost Champion, as well as the Literacy Consultant on the CA WMU Compassion Ministries Team as a Faith-Based English Second Language certified trainer, and a Tutoring Children & Youth certified trainer. Gil made his profession of faith in 1972 at the age of 18, and is a graduate of San Jose Bible College and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Eva have been married for over 48 years. Together, they have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren.
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