This is Pastor Tim’s weekly newspaper article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Throughout my career, I have officiated at the funeral of many veterans. I have heard the playing of Taps, the saddest song that could ever be played. I have heard the 21-gun salute. I have watched the flag folded and presented to a loved one. Although these are some of the most somber moments anyone can have, it is a privilege to be able to honor a fallen veteran for their sacrifice for their country. These brave women and men have decided that the freedom you and I love so much was worth risking their lives to defend. It was the bravery, grit, and determination of veterans that have helped build this country.
This past weekend was Memorial Day Weekend, a weekend that serves two purposes. The first purpose is to honor our veterans, both current and past, who have given so much to allow us the freedoms we enjoy every day. Memorial Day is also the official start to summer. I know that last summer was not a very good example of our freedom, but thank God, this summer looks like it is going to give us a lot more opportunity. Each and every opportunity you take advantage of this summer was presented to you as a gift from every member of the armed forces who has ever served.
It has become the vogue thing to do to point out our country’s flaws. I know that some of you who read these first two paragraphs are offended by what I have said. Those veterans sacrificed to even give you the right to be offended. The fact that you can speak your mind on any topic you want is credit due to those who are willing to defend those freedoms. I think that we can honor these brave soldiers by giving our grievances a break for just one weekend and celebrate the blessings that God has rained down upon us, regardless of any identity group we happen to belong to. Has it always been easy? Has it always been fair? Of course not. But fairness isn’t what the soldiers earned for us; it was freedom.
I don’t know the full history of either holiday, but one of the most appropriate parts of the ebb and flow of our lives is how we begin and end our summer. We begin summer with Memorial Day, the day we celebrate our American Soldiers. We close out our summer with Labor Day, the day we celebrate our American Workers. The nation we know today exists because of the freedom soldiers defended and the backbone workers built. Sure, we all have gripes and things we are unhappy about, but overall, we should feel very blessed to live where we live today.
I hope that by the time you read this article, you had the chance to eat something cooked on a grill, spent some time with your family, and got to experience a parade. That is what the soldiers we are celebrating wanted for you. That was the vision they had, a country where people would be free. You are honoring their investment in you when you enjoy those precious freedoms. All of our soldiers, from the Revolutionary War until the soldiers currently deployed today, have a desire for you to be free. If that wasn’t the case, they would have found some other line of work. However, they wanted their lives to count, and because of their service to this country, we live without fear.
The kids are out of school, the weather is warming up, and the country is on the verge of opening up after the pandemic. 2021 is a great time to be alive and I pray that all of you are about to live the greatest summer of your lives. No matter if you are attending baseball games, taking walks, or just sitting on your back porch with a glass of iced tea, take a moment and give thanks for the chance to live free.
Thank you, veterans. We literally couldn’t have done it without you.