In Memoriam - by Virgil Stripes
John 15:13 (ESV)
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
This is a picture of the Meuse Argonne World War I American Cemetery in France. There are over 14,000 Americans interred there from the very short time that America was involved in that war. I took the picture back in 1982 or 1983 when I was on a “Rolling Retreat” that my
Chaplain David Sandifer and I arranged for the soldiers of our Nike Hercules Air Defense Artillery Battalion. This cemetery was built at the end of World War I and over 4,000 German Prisoners of War helped build it. The Nazi German Army marched through this cemetery during World War II a short couple of decades later. Surprisingly to me, when We visited this cemetery,
the curator explained that the Germans did not desecrate ANY of the military cemeteries they went through. If you notice the Stars of David in among the crosses, that becomes even more surprising. Yet we were told that this is because the Germans respected fallen soldiers, regardless whether they were friend or foe.
Every year at Memorial Day, I recall the many battlefields of WWI that I visited, and some of the lessons I learned there. Most importantly, I think of the many people who lost their lives there in the simple hope and belief that they were sacrificing for a cause greater than any one man.
More importantly even than this, though are the words of our Savior, The Lord Himself. He did exactly what He said. He gave His life that you and I might live. Live eternally in peace with God. The ultimate sacrifice given, and the ultimate reward passed on.
Today, as we Celebrate Memorial Day, as we remember the sacrifice made by our countrymen and -women, and for what it did for us, let us be grateful. Let us also remember the ultimate Sacrifice made by Christ, and let us live in freedom both physically and spiritually.