This Memorial Day we remember all of those men and women who bravely have sacrificed their lives in various wars throughout our history so that you and I are able to live in this Land of Freedom.
While there are many wars that will be remembered this today, the Civil War is one that we can reflect upon. Over 500,000 men and women lost their lives in the Civil War. It is in the Civil War that Memorial Day has its roots. It was John A. Logan, a former Federal general, who called for the first formal day of remembrance on May 30, 1868.
School children were asked to spread flower pedals upon the graves of the war dead. Since that time the day has been changed to the last Monday in May and the concept has been expanded to include a remembrance of America’s war dead sustained in all of our nation’s conflicts.
As Christians and as people of faith, we need to reflect upon the awful cost of war and the fact that freedom is costly. Consider these footnotes of history concerning the battle at Shiloh where over 100,000 were killed, wounded or captured. A God Alert
If Lew Wallace who fought on the Shiloh battlefield, had been killed, then we would never have known of the great American literary work BEN HUR.
If Ulysses. S. Grant had been slain at Shiloh we would have lost a president of the United States.
If Francis A. Shoup had fallen while leading his Confederate Battalions we would have lost a university president.
But these were the ones who survived to live out their potential and their life dreams. What of those who did not make it through? We must lament this day how many potential doctors, authors, college presidents, political leaders, clergymen, teachers and inventors, let alone ordinary citizens, who had their careers cut short during the horrible two days of Shiloh.
Then multiply that by all of the battles and all of the wars in America’s history and we begin to realize how staggering the toll. All in all, 1.1 million deaths in all our wars. It is right that we remember those who bravely gave their lives for our country. But we should not forget the battles and the wars that have robbed our great country of some of our finest men and women who could have enriched our nation and our world with their talents and their love.
Maybe you have wondered why Memorial Day is marked in May? Its date doesn’t recall some historic battle. Or the start of some war. Or the signing of an armistice. Why, then, May?
For a very practical reason. Because it is a time when flowers bloom. Flowers with which to decorate graves. Flowers which also can be used as an offering to those with whom we are diligently working for peace so as to avoid war at all cost.
With the help of Brett Blair