By the time you read this article, Memorial Day Weekend will have already started. The actual federal holiday, of course, will not be until Monday, but customarily many people go on a trip during the long weekend and that starts today.
According to AAA, a record number (42 million) are planning to make a trip this weekend. It is estimated that more than 2.6 million of these will travel through the nation’s airports each of the four days. From the people I have talked to the destinations will include everything from the mountains to the beaches to places like Disney World. Personally, I plan to be among the minority and stay at home.
Regardless of where you plan to spend the weekend, I want to encourage you to do two things.
First, I want to encourage you to remember why we have this holiday. I don’t mean for this to be a “downer” but it is important that we not forget that this day has been set aside to remember those who have died so that we might enjoy the freedom we have to go where we want, when we want, do whatever we want, and say whatever we choose so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others.
Writing these words, I am reminded of the first time I think I began to get in touch with the price so many have paid to ensure our freedom. I was about 14 years of age at the time. A man who had just returned from Vietnam was at my brother’s house. He was a close friend of my brother, who was 21 at the time. The man suffered from PTSD (Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder). He had been in the middle of a couple of terrible fire-fights. The memory of those experiences had changed this man’s life forever.
For some reason, that night, he opened up and began to talk a bit about his experience. He talked a bit about the people around him who were wounded and one guy right next to him who died. Then suddenly, he couldn’t talk about it anymore. You could literally see the pain in his mind take shape in his physical reaction and he got up and walked out of the room. That night, I got a brief glimpse into the price so many have paid.
I know there are differing political opinions about wars like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. and it is not my intent in this article to take a position one way or another. My intent is rather to encourage us all to remember that there are those who have given life and limb and more for the cause of freedom. To all of them, we owe a debt of gratitude.
The other thing I want to encourage you to do this weekend is to set aside an hour, find a church and spend it in worship to God. The greatest freedom we enjoy is the freedom that comes to us through Jesus Christ, and he paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
If you happen to be like me and you will be staying at home this weekend, I look forward to seeing you Sunday, if not before!