But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
-Psalm 5:11 NIV
It was not always known as “Memorial Day”. The day where we remember and honor those who have lost their lives while serving our country. It was originally called “Decoration Day”. This commemoration dates back as far as 1868 when flowers were placed on graves at Arlington National Cemetery of soldiers who died in service. Soon after, it caught on, state by state. Since the 1950’s, American flags have been placed on more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery on the Thursday prior to Memorial Day each year. Just a few years ago, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts began placing a single candle on over 15,000 gravesites in northern Virginia on the Thursday prior to Memorial Day. The tributes continue annually to show honor and respect.
But the traditions of the past are more forgotten than remembered. Memorial Day has often signified outdoor parties, picnics, three-day weekends, the unofficial start to summer, and maybe the first dip in the swimming pool. But as we grow older, the significance of the sacrifice made by the fallen soldiers presses on our hearts. They are heroes. Many of the people serving the armed forces today are very young. Some may not even have a personal relationship with Our Father. Imagine being away from the comfort of family and familiar surroundings, living with war and not knowing God. As Christians, I believe that God is calling us to pray for the protection of these brave servicemen and women, both at home and abroad. In all of the celebrations and fun that a Memorial Day weekend suggests, perhaps we can take time to go to God in prayer to ask His blessings on families that have lost loved ones and to cover His Holy Armor on those brave people that are currently serving us. If we all prayed a prayer for peace, and each prayer was a light, together we could illuminate the heavens with our petitions!