Lest we forget
Thomas Bonham is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
Memorial Day is another one of those celebrations that has been kicked around to become a “three-day weekend” holiday. Originally, and how I’ll always remember it, Decoration Day (Memorial Day) started as a day of remembrance for Civil War dead, to honor Union and Confederate soldiers who had died in the war. It was a time when families traveled to distant cemeteries, to clean up and decorate the tombstones of departed loved ones. May 30 was chosen to be the most appropriate because that is the time of year when the wildflowers and annuals were at their peak in the regions of most of the cemeteries. Memorial Day today is observed to honor all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of our country, their life’s blood. It differs from Veterans Day in November (November 11) in that, on Veterans Day we acknowledge all veterans, living and departed, that have served our country in wartime. Shamefully, in today’s society, both days of honor are more about a day off from work. Memorial Day is the kickoff weekend of the summer. Lest we forget!
Englishman Laurence Binyon (1869-1943) wrote a well-known poem, “For The Fallen,” in 1914 for his fellow countrymen following the World War I battle at Marne. The fourth stanza adorns several war memorials. Although written for the English, it could be adopted for any country to memorialize those who have served in war.
“With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children, England (America) mourns for her dead across the sea. Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit; Fallen in the cause of the free. Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal, Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres, There is music in the midst of desolation, And a glory that shines upon our tears. They went with songs to the battle; they were young, Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted; They fell with their faces to the foe. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them. They mingle not with laughing comrades again; They sit no more at familiar tables of home; They have no lot in our labour of the daytime; They sleep beyond England’s (America’s) foam. But where our desires are and our hopes profound, Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight, To the innermost heart of their own land they are known, As the stars are known to the Night; As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain; As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, To the end, to the end, they remain.” Lest we forget!
[Romans 5:6-11] “...at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” “...God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In baptism we share in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection by dying to sin and becoming reconciled to God through our obedience to the Gospel (Romans 6:1-14). Are you willing to give your all in battle for the survival of your soul? (Ephesians 6:10-18) Are you willing to serve in God’s army defending truth the rest of your life? (Colossians 1:21-23; 2 Peter 1:3-11; & Revelation 2:10)
Reading God’s Word is like decorating gravesites in honor of the debt we owe our unselfish war dead. Christ also gave his life for everyone, to set men free from sin. May we honor Him, lest we forget!
Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find his column on his blog at http://wilsoncountynews.com.