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COLUMN: Memorial Day a time for reflection

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By Jon Rohr

Are you getting ready for this weekend?  Stocking up on hamburgers and hotdogs?  Getting the car ready for a little trip?  Maybe even planning some home improvement project?  This year with the mild winter it feels like spring has lasted forever, but Memorial Day weekend is the traditional start of summer, and I think we all look forward to it.
The great thing is the family gatherings, the little outings, the grills firing up, but there is a downside.  Sometimes in the midst of the fun of an officially sanctioned three-day weekend, we forget why we set aside this time.  We laugh and have a great time; we enjoy our freedoms and our families, and forget that there are those who purchased our freedoms, those who left families behind for us.
The Bible even reminds us to make memorials.  When the children of Israel entered the promised land they built a stone memorial honoring God’s leadership.  The Lord told them, “When your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever” (Joshua 4:6-7 NIV).  Remembering what God has done, remembering the sacrifices made along the way brings honor to God.
All over America, in big cities and small towns, even in Taylorsville, you find memorials to the men and women who fought and died for us. Most of those monuments are inscribed with prayers or biblical verses or both. And though I know some disagree with me, I believe those inscriptions reflect our national heritage.  We were founded on biblical principles of freedom and responsibility. And those who have fought our nations battles have struggled to uphold those principles.
So this weekend, as you enjoy that extra day off, take time to remember.  Say a prayer of thanksgiving for those who sacrificed themselves for our liberty.  Offer a prayer for the safety of those who still serve around the world.  Pray for the families who also sacrifice here at home.  And remember to give thanks for a savior who died to free us from the terrible bondage of sin. Remember to thank him for the glory of his resurrection that reminds us that we can be free of even the sting of death if we will only believe.