Memorial day is here. And I remember. I’ve been buying red poppies from members of the VFW from their table at whatever grocery store I frequented since I was a little girl. My mother took the poppy stem (thin green metal) and wound it through the top buttonhole of the spring coat I would wear to church. I was so proud to wear the red poppy on my coat. I left it there for many weeks, until one day it came off and I lost track of it. My mother had told me that Memorial Day is when we honor those who died in the military serving our country – protecting us. I didn’t know any family members who had died in the military, but I certainly knew that men and women had been dying in combat for the history of our country. And, I knew men and women who served in the military who were willing to die for their country if that was demanded of them.
My late husband, Gary, was an Air Force officer. He served in many ways, during his life, but mostly as an engineer – a thinker. No one ever gave him a rifle and said, ‘ go defend us’ but it seems to me he was doing that all along. Quietly, without fanfare.
Who do you know who died in the service of their country? I hope you can honor them this Memorial Day. I’ve been thinking about all the people who have died from Covid-19 these last months, and wondering if they too could be honored in some way. Surely they are mourned. We mourn for lost opportunities, for lost moments with their loved ones. For dreams left unfulfilled.
As a person of faith, I often think of Jesus and his sacrifice for us, on our behalf. I doubt that many of us can fully grasp what a difference that has made in my life, in your life. The sacrificial love of Christ is what I see reflected in our observance of Memorial Day. And all the poppies. Just a few years ago, I saw the World War 1 museum in Kansas City Missouri for the first time. The art installation of poppies strewn underneath the walkway representing so many young lives lost surely took my breath away.
I’ve done nothing to deserve Christ’s gift of life to me, to deserve his sacrifice. And surely, I’ve done nothing to deserve the gift of our deceased military, who made the ultimate sacrifice. This weekend, perhaps you could take a moment to think about that. I know I will. This gift of love undeserved. What will it call me to do in response? What is it calling for from you?
I bless you all with Christ’s love this weekend – enjoy the sun –