While it may have started as an order from General John Logan in 1868, Decoration Day, May 30, was a day to remember those who died in military service. Some 5,000 people gathered at the military cemetery in Washington, D.C. They used flowers and streamers to decorate the grave markers of those who perished in battle.
It was following a broken, divided time in the United States. Citizens were reeling from the impact of so much death during the Civil War. They needed to remember the fallen family members, friends, and fellow comrades. In response to their grief, they decorated the graves of the brave men and women who lost their lives in the conflict.
Like a patchwork quilt, states began their own version of Decoration Day and some began to call it Memorial Day, but the reason was always the same—to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy in the United States.
Eventually, Congress acted with passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971. Since then, Memorial Day is celebrated by the entire nation on the last Monday of the month of May.
As time progresses and as generations experience their own challenges, thoughts of war seem far away from the memory of many people. The few remaining veterans of World War II certainly are heroes in their own right, but their stories are starting to fade and their presence won’t be with us much longer.
The military engagements in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and other battlefields are part of today’s fabric. Many of our brave warriors yielded their blood on foreign soil to squelch the ever-growing tide of terrorism and tyranny. In these conflicts, American citizens on the whole never seemed to engage in the necessity, economic impact or personal loss that our military personnel experienced. These brave men and women carried the weight of our freedoms on themselves, and as a people, we need to express our appreciation to them.
As a people, Memorial Day is time for us to remember. For the living, we need to do more than have the veterans stand in a church service. A better choice would be to look these brave men and women in the eyes and say with a humble heart, “Thank you.” Or train our children to write a note to them that expresses our gratitude. Or, how about bring them to the house and roll out the roast and potatoes and listen to their stories. There are many ways to honor those to whom honor is due.
Memorial Day is not just another holiday on the federal holiday list. It is a powerful moment to remember the people and their stories. It is also prime time to give thanks for what they died for: our freedoms of life, liberty, and purpose. There is no place on earth that gives citizens the right to be heard, the right to worship, the right to pursue their dreams like the United States of America. That is the why our soldiers fought for us. We must be vigilant to protect these rights from ideological erosion.
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Thousands are graduating from our state’s high schools and many are moving forward toward the college experience. Just a reminder to you that Missouri Baptists have three great universities: Hannibal-LaGrange University, Missouri Baptist University, and Southwest Baptist University.
Many 2020 and 2021 graduates have not yet laid down a deposit for next fall’s studies. Would you encourage the graduates in your sphere of influence to prayerfully consider the opportunities at one of our universities?
There are great opportunities ahead for those students who seize this moment in life to prepare themselves for the future. Our Baptist universities offer something the state institutions cannot offer: preparation for a professional career in the context of a Christian environment.
Or, for that student just beginning to sort out his or her professional ideals, the Baptist university environment is far better soil for the production of an impactful life and career.
It’s difficult to understand why Baptist parents invest so much in their children’s K-12 experience and not seriously consider Christian higher education as a part of their child’s training. Think about all the big life decisions that occur from ages 18-22. A Christian environment is a much more positive place for those decisions to germinate.
The problem for most families is often the money. The cost of a degree at a private institution is pricey, but not as unreasonable as you might think. Visit with one of MBC’s three universities to see what can be done to mitigate the cost deferential.
Encourage the students in your life to carefully consider a Baptist university that shares your core convictions, prepares them for their chosen profession, and gives them opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others in the name of the Lord Jesus. Contact HLGU, MBU, or SBU to learn more.