Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
Luke 12: 48b (NIV)
After posting our American flag on this morning of remembrance, I noticed something sad as I walked around the neighborhoods. I remembered that there had seemed to be more flags being flown in the past on national holidays. Not today. Not on this Memorial Day.
I wonder how it begins. Indifference, that is. I wonder if we begin to learn it as children from our parents or other adults. I wonder how we could recognize its stealthy approach.
Indifference is too often missed for its true nature—the entry point on the slippery slope causing us to set aside our personal and moral responsibility toward others, toward this nation, and toward the One who is our Lord and Savior. Indifference is the antithesis of duty, a duty divinely set within us to be all we are created to be for others, for this nation and those who have gone before us, and for this world.
Because when indifference deftly creeps into the day-to-day life of a parent, children learn they are not valued. When it settles into the easy chairs of our marriage, couples grow cold and empty. When indifference infects the hearts of our young, they lose their sense of wonder and hope for becoming all they were created to be.
But days like today should remind us that we, as a nation, have always risen up to stem the tide of indifference which moves us away from all we were founded upon. Days like today move us back toward duty, and back toward who we should be as a nation. And on Memorial Day this year, I pray that we will never forget the lives of those who embraced their duty for the nation they loved, and paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we might live today.
Beginning in 1866 with the placing of some flowers on the graves of some of our Civil War veterans, Memorial Day has usually been highlighted since the dedication in 1911 of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, by the President’s placing of a wreath at the Tomb under the watchful eye of an elite unit of the “Old Guard” of the Third United States Infantry, called the Tomb Guard, which maintains an hour by hour vigil every day of the year at that hallowed site.
The inscription, “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God”, can be found on the Tomb containing the remains of a soldier from World War I, World War II and the Korean War. And in their resting place they represent other valiant men and women, patriots, who knew their duty and stood in the gap for us throughout the centuries of our God-ordained history.
Patriots, who often came back from their willing duty in pieces, boxes, on stretchers and crutches, forever scarred and crippled, and whose bodies now lie beneath row after row after row of white crosses in the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery and in thousands of cemeteries across this country and world.
Patriots who fought, died or were wounded so that you and I might continue to live, laugh, sit and sleep, and, yes, even pray here today in freedom.
Their legacy of belief in our nation and in something better, in a hope for a brighter tomorrow, must not end with them, but must live on in us and in the purpose of each day of our lives. Each of us, and each passing generation, has the duty to not only remember them, but to honor them by taking up the torch they carried, and embrace in their memory, the vision and hope for our lives—for our children and grandchildren—which they kept burning brightly with the blood of their courage. Each generation has the duty to remind the next of that, as we pass the torch of liberty forward.
Indifference is never an option. Duty is the only option.
A few years ago I was in Washington, DC for the National Prayer Breakfast, and while there took some time to see the National Holocaust Museum. As you depart the main exhibit of that National Holocaust Museum in our nation’s capital, these words by Pastor Martin Niemoeller, which are etched on the wall, become forever etched in your heart:
“In Germany, the Nazis came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak.”
Never again you say? We know better, don’t we?
And Jesus said—“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” In a word—duty.
This Memorial Day—as we pause to remember all those who sacrificed for us and this great nation which they loved—is not a time for indifference. And in the history of our great nation, there has never been a time for indifference and never will be.
Instead, this Memorial Day is another time for duty. A time for American heroes to step forward once again, to reach heavenward, and with outstretched fingers to touch the face of God.
We have done it before as a nation; surely, surely we can do it again.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2014. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.