Memorial Day...a time to reflect & respect.

It's Memorial Day.

I've learned through the years that this day can't just be a time to reflect, it must also be a time to respect.  Here why.

To reflect is to simply cast your mind upon something and mull it over momentarily.  To pause briefly and remember that something occurred that is demanding our memorial.  I can find myself simply looking at pictures of war heroes, widows and orphans at military graveyards, artistic versions of the American Flag, or cliche memes placed over bad clip art.  I can even see some clickbait articles and read about a veteran and his or her heroic exploit.  I find myself looking for black and white pictures taken of soldiers in the heat of the moment, surviving the elements and staring war in the face with a mix of timidity and temerity.  The grainy pics of WW2 slay me.

But to simply reflect doesn't go far enough in my opinion.

I'm finding the more my heart moves toward respect, the more I tap into the deeper parts of my heart.  I don't simply acknowledge, I appreciate.  I don't merely remember, I honor.  With humble gratitude I consider what's been sacrificed as sacred and weighty.  I think of lives lost for a cause.  I may not always agree with every single cause, but I will never demean the warriors who laid down their lives in the line of duty.  To obey the call and go, to put themselves in harm's way at the command of their country...this is laudable.

I love that soldiers are said to be "in the service".  That is what they are...servants.  Sure they are fierce warriors, but they are primarily servants sacrificing themselves for the lives of others.  "Greater love has no man than this, than a man would lay down his life for his friends." - Jesus

So today I will reflect and respect. With all the anti-American sentiment that dominates the headlines these days, I still love America with all her beauty and blemishes, just like I love the beautiful and broken bride of Christ.  We aren't perfect, but I do believe we live in an amazing country.  I know it's kinda cool to diss the USA these days, but I am a grateful citizen that longs to do all I can to honor the blood shed for all these years with a life well lived, free and brave.

So today I want to honor and thank all the men and women who have served our country so selflessly.  I will never forget you and I will try to steward the freedom that you have afforded me with your very blood, sweat, and tears.  You have my deepest respect.


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