Posted May 29, 2023 | Share this:

“Say to the nations far and wide: ‘Get ready for war! Call out your best warriors. Let all your fighting men advance for the attack.'” ~Joel 3:9 NLT.

Yesterday my husband completed a project that he has wanted to do for years, just in time for today.  He dug a huge hole, cemented a regulation pole in the ground, and ran a flag to the top of it.  It has a circular flowerbed at the base of the pole surrounded by beautiful bricks to protect the flowers and a light to shine on the flag at nighttime.

At the break of dawn, the flag was lowered to half-mast.

Today is Memorial Day.  Once called Decoration Day, Memorial Day officially began in May 1868 to remember those soldiers who died in the Civil War.  In this war, many people died fighting against their own relatives because they couldn’t agree about how to live.  There have been many more wars since, with basically the same reasoning, and many people have lost their lives over it.

Do not misunderstand my explanation of reasons for war.  Each person in any war or argument has a point of view that they believe is best so they fight for it.  During any disagreement those involved are making plans of the steps they need to take.  A person can look at each side of any war to see the pros and cons of each side’s perspective.

The Civil War resulted in around 620,000 deaths.  This one war’s death total equaled all other major American History wars combined.  Each side believed they were justified in what they were fighting for and what they were fighting against.  They could not come to a diplomatic problem-solving solution for their issues so they separated into the “Northern states” and “Southern states” and began making their plans.

In every war there are people who are in charge of planning strategies for the battle to go in their favor.  They lead a company of men and women into dangerous situations with the intention of making those dangerous situations safe again.

They risk for others.

Years ago, someone I knew told me about her experience with war.  She has a close understanding of what Memorial Day means.  It is not celebrated just for those who died in the Civil War but for all who have lost their lives to protect our country.  They protected from foreign and domestic harm which ultimately cost them their lives.

She was married at a young age to her high school sweetheart.  He went into the military and she began to learn how to function as a military wife.  She became friends with all of his work buddies and their spouses.  When he was called out to war she was pregnant.  He knew the danger he would be facing and she understood the choice he felt he needed to make when he enlisted.

They were best friends and shared everything with each other.  Letters went back and forth while he was over seas and she was growing a life.  Then one day the ring of the doorbell, that no one ever wants to answer, came.  She knew without hearing them say it, but just by their presence, that he was gone.

The ultimate sacrifice.

There is a picture she posts, nearly every Memorial Day, of her holding their newborn baby at his military service.  She watched as a flag that covered his casket was slowly and carefully folded into the proper triangle.  She held her baby in her arms, sunglasses covering her eyes as tears rolled down her face when they handed her the blue with white stars pristine triangle.

Her heart ached for the loss of her love and the loss of her daughter’s daddy.  This wasn’t the end of her story though.  She eventually remarried to her husband’s best friend who served with him and held him as he died from a gun shot.

After his death, she began attending bereavement groups and was emotionally comforted by his best friend.  They began to develop their own friendship out of their connection to the loss of her husband.  They honor him every year and they have had a couple of other kids since, one of whom is named after her first husband.

This is a Gold Star Family.

I didn’t know what that meant until one day when I was walking behind her vehicle and I saw one single gold star on the license plate with those words on the plate.  I asked her, “what is a Gold Star Family.”  Up until this point I had never heard her story so she began to lay it out for me.  I cried through her details, thinking about the pain I would suffer through if I lost my husband or my daughter had to grow up not knowing her daddy.

This is only one story of a loss of life from those who chose to put themselves in harms way to protect our freedoms.  This Memorial Day, remember you have the life you life because someone else paid a price for you.  Men and women have gone to dangerous locations.  They have placed themselves in harms way to say I will sacrifice myself for you.

Wars will continue to come and go.  People will continue to make plans for our well-being and they may not always work out the way they are planned but remember to thank those who tried, those who were willing to make sacrifices for a better way of life.

Their sacrifice gave us freedom, not unlike Christ’s sacrifice for our eternal freedom.  Remember, someone paid a price for you.

Thank you to all of those Gold Star Families who have gone without their loved ones for my freedom.

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