Keys to the Kingdom
My dad served in the United States Army on the front lines in Germany during World War II. In his later years, he once told me, “It kills me to hear Taps sounded.” I know for a fact that he’s not the only veteran who felt that way. This haunting mournful bugle call is sounded by the United States Armed Forces at dusk, during flag ceremonies, and at military funerals. Dad was in the heat of the battle in the European Theatre from 1944-1946 and he witnessed many of his buddies killed or injured. When Taps are sounded, tears stream down my face as I think about all the brave veterans and their sacrifices.
The Bible best describes a U.S. veteran who dies for his/her Country: “No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends” (John 15:13 NIRV). Dying for something you believe in is the ultimate sacrifice. Memorial Day commemorates the brave men and women who died in battle, or as a result of wounds sustained in battle, while serving their Country and fighting for freedom.
It grieves me to see some Americans lightly treat Memorial Day as simply an opportunity to get together, have a picnic, and start the summer off with a bang. The only reason we’re even able to do that is because of our valiant Armed Forces. Honoring and mourning the loss of those who have died in the line of duty should be the #1 priority on Memorial Day. In addition, Americans have also taken this opportunity to decorate the graves of all their loved ones, not just military graves. God cares about all those who die. “His loved ones are very precious to Him and He does not lightly let them die” (Psalm 116:15 TLB).
When our veterans die for others, there is no more that love can do to show dedication to their fellow man. Fallen soldiers give their lives to protect everyone — not just family and friends but strangers too. They die for those who refuse to salute the flag. They die for those who take freedom for granted. They die for those who refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance. They even die for those who don’t stand for the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.
For those who die in Christ, they have a rich reward. “…when I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see You face to face” (Psalm 17:15 TLB). Even though God’s Word states that we’re born to die, I don’t see many volunteering for it. Everyone I know is trying to stay alive. But when an unselfish individual signs up for the military, there’s a chance he/she will come home in a flag-draped coffin.
Taps is sounded nightly in military installations to indicate “lights out” and mark the end of an evening. The lights have gone out on our Nation’s fallen heroes, but let’s keep the memories of their brave sacrifices burning brightly in our hearts. The National Moment of Remembrance takes place across America at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. Let us pray for those who mourn and also for our national leaders.
The Key: The flag of the United States of America doesn‘t unfurl because the wind blows it. It reverently unfurls with the last breath of every veteran who died to protect it.