Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary; when troubles come and my heart burdened be;

Then, I am still and wait here in the silence, until You come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;

You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;

I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;

You raise me up… To more than I can be.

“You Raise Me Up,” Josh Groban

Her words returned to my thoughts as I posted our American Flag again this morning on the front of our house.

That was awesome, Gran,” she shrieked as her head bobbed up out of the frigid water. “Let’s do it again!”

My younger granddaughter Ellie Kate had stood on my shoulders in the pool yesterday afternoon, and as I slowly stood up from under the water with her aboard, she rose higher and higher eventually rising completely out of the water, until she could dive freely to the other end.

Memorial Day—that is why we pause today.

It is always an emotional day for me. It is a confluence of emotions of gratitude, heartache, anger, sadness, confusion and pride—all remembered through the lives of those who stood throughout the centuries for us as a nation, as a people and for freedom for all everywhere.

I find it hard to talk about and express what I am feeling without having those emotions and so many others pour forth as I reflect on the lives we pause to honor today.

I stand on their shoulders.

They raise me up.

All those who we honor on this Memorial Day, and every day, who have given the last measure of their devotion for me, for you, for my family, and for my granddaughters who now stand on my shoulders.

As I sat this morning in the quiet and peace of our home, I gave thanks for the lives of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and prayed that on this Memorial Day we would never forget the sacrifice of their lives given so that we might indeed live today in the security and peace we enjoy.

As I prayed, I remembered how tears always choke my throat and fill my eyes as my chest swells with pride and gratitude, whenever I try to tell my granddaughters something about those we honor today. Tears flow as Lynda and I, each year, watch the televised National Memorial Day Concert from Washington, DC, and as I stand when the United States Air Force anthem is played as a part of the Armed Forces Medley. They flow every time we visit or see the monuments in Washington, D.C. honoring their struggles and courage.

I want my family, my granddaughters, and our children and grandchildren everywhere, to know and respect the service and sacrifice of the heroes who have gone before them and who, like my two Godsons, continue to stand-in-the-gap for them today. We tend to get a bit cynical and critical at some of the things which go on within our government and our nation today. But those things are the result of the actions of some of our self-centered politicians and other some other of our lesser leaders. The courage and sacrifice of those we honor and remember on this Memorial Day, and throughout the year, should never be associated with them.

Instead, the generation upon generation of those brave men and women upon whose shoulders we stand today, should be known and remembered by us all for the sacrifices they made for us—and we must never forget them.

We stand on their shoulders.

They raise me up. They raise you up.

Beginning in 1866 with the placing of some flowers on the graves of some of our Civil War veterans, what we today acknowledge as Memorial Day is highlighted—and has been 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. The Tomb Guard is an elite unit which maintains an hour by hour vigil every day of the year—through storm and calm—at that hallowed site.

An inscription can be found on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier—a tomb which contains the remains of soldiers from World War I and World War II and the Korean War—which reads…

Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

You and I stand on their shoulders.

They raise us up. They raise our nation up. They raise up people around the world seeking freedom.

And we must never take for granted what they have done for us.

We are free to do what we are doing this very minute because of the sacrifice they have made for each of us. We are living in freedom, making decisions for our lives and futures, because of what they did for us throughout the centuries of this great nation.

That was awesome, Gran. Let’s do it again.”

And we did, and we will, because we stand on the shoulders of those who gave everything so that we can live in freedom. They gave us a gift—paid for at a great price.

They raise us up. They raise us up to more than we could be.

That’s what and that’s who we remember on this Memorial Day.

Those who raise us up—we stand on their shoulders.

So the question might be for each of us to think about today and everyday—what will we do with that gift of freedom for our lives, which they gave with theirs?

In His Name—Scott

Copyright 2013. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.