Ask Augustine with Dr. Paul Tambrino
Ask Augustine is a weekly column where professor/author Dr. Paul Tambrino discusses various theological questions with wit, clarity and substance.
Question #52 – What is Memorial Day?
I can remember as if it was yesterday when I, in my early childhood years, would awake to sound of the drums each Memorial Day as the parade was about to begin just three doors from my home.
Some years later, I would don my Boy Scout uniform with white belt and spats — grab my bugle or my fife and become part of that parade.
Memorial Day is an official holiday in most states of the United States. It was observed on May 30 until 1971, when for federal employees, the date was changed to the last Monday in May. With the exception of Louisiana, all states observing Memorial Day adopted the change.“For those who have lost someone because of war or military action, Memorial Day means much more than a day off.”
It is also known as Decoration Day. The custom of placing flowers on the graves of the war began on May 5, 1866, in Waterloo, NY, and Waterloo has been recognized by Congress as the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
In 1868, Gen. John A. Logan, then president of the Grand Army of the Republic, declared that May 30 would be a day to decorate with “flowers the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.”
After World War I the day was set aside to honor those who served in all American wars, and the custom was extended to pay homage to deceased relatives and friends, both military and civilian.
The most solemn ceremony conducted on Memorial Day is the placing of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns located in Arlington national Cemetery.
Some Southern states observed Confederate Memorial Day – April 26 in Georgia, on the last Monday in April in Alabama and Mississippi, and on May 10 in South Carolina.“Every American ought to recognize this day out of patriotic duty to country and in honor of those who spilled their blood to make America what she is today – free, strong, and a nation worth fighting for.”
Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina do not observe the general holiday, and in Virginia the last Monday in May is called Confederate Memorial Day.
Next week we will celebrate this Memorial Day. Sadly, many people see it as just a day off; a three day weekend.
But for those who have lost someone because of war or military action, it means much more than a day off.
In fact, every American ought to recognize this day out of patriotic duty to country and in honor of those who spilled their blood to make America what she is today – free, strong, and a nation worth fighting for.
As we prepare to enter into a day to remember those who died for liberty, it is fitting to remember the One who died to set us free from spiritual tyranny.
Jesus fought the armies of Hell that we might have liberty in His holy name. We celebrate Memorial Day once a year to remember those who died for freedom, but every week is a celebration of the Memorial of Christ. For Christians, every Sunday is memorial day.
On Memorial Day we remember the loved ones who died. I am proud to be an American and I have the luxuries of this country because men have died to give me what I have.“As we prepare to enter into a day to remember those who died for liberty, it is fitting to remember the One who died to set us free from spiritual tyranny.”
Similarly the price Jesus paid afforded us salvation. We have the promise of salvation and we did nothing to afford this luxury. For this we must be thankful.
Therefore, on this and every Memorial Day, also remember your Savior and His Memorial.
For it is in Him, in Christ alone, that you have the forgiveness that is promised to all but especially given to you; – the few, the chosen, the elected by Him.
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