Mike Cope makes this observation on his blog this morning:
we have all benefitted from the courage and sacrifice of those who have fought for freedom.
In response to this post, I commented that I believe he is correct in making this observation. I then shared the following memory, which somehow got caught in the comments waiting for moderation filter, that has played a significant role in shaping my thoughts on Memorial Day for about 35 years now:
I distinctly remember attending only a few funerals, as a young person. The most vivid memories are of attending the funeral service of my eighteen year old cousin, Gail Lynn Strickland, in Amarillo, Texas. He was killed on August 12, 1971. His helicopter was shot down in Vietnam.
Each year, when Memorial Day rolls around, I am transported back to the day of his memorial service. His immediate family members were so devastated. I was weeks away from turning thirteen and swimming in a sea of conflicting emotions. I remember sitting through the service with my cousin staring at me from the framed, glossy photograph, which was displayed on a table next to his flag-draped casket.
A few years ago, I found his name engraved in the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. I was not prepared for the emotional impact of this moment. Not just because I found his name, but because I found his name amidst so many others—more that 58,000 other names. So, as we remember those who have given life and limb for our freedom, let us remember that each one was someone’s daughter, son, brother, sister, husband, wife, cousin or friend. Let us remember, also, there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
© Bill Williams
May 30, 2006