Digging through a pile of inherited old family pictures, I came across this photo of the Memorial Day procession to the cemetery in my dad’s hometown. As you can see it’s a grainy photo, but it appears to be from perhaps the 1930s. (It’s hard to tell, and since that town has had a long-standing tradition of Memorial Day parades and speeches, it really could be from just about any decade.)
For many years my uncle would march with his rifle, and then these old vets would fire off a three shot volley to honor the dead. These actions were repeated in cemeteries across the country. Perhaps you were a part of such traditions. Or perhaps you were part of another Memorial Day tradition – putting flowers on the graves. Memorial Day began as Decoration Day, a day to decorate the graves of the Civil War dead with flowers. My mother’s family always has flowers placed on the family graves for Memorial Day.
How fitting that we remember those who have died. But even better to remember that through the work of Jesus our loved ones can live on. Jesus promised, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” – John 11:26-26
So this Memorial Day remember those who are gone with parades and rifles and flowers; but remember, also, they are not really gone. We are just separated for a while. Through Christ we shall meet again.
Happy Memorial Day.