Memorial Day: It's a time for celebration

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day is Monday. It is a time of mixed emotions for me. I often wonder what the people in heaven think of us during Memorial Day. Are they upset that we still mourn over the loved ones we've lost? Are they happy that we take the time to remember them? Are they worried about the world we are building in their absence?

I believe our loved ones who have passed on before us would want this to be a time of celebration, a celebration not only of the time we were blessed to spend together with them, but a celebration of the work they did to build this country and its freedom.

Life is short. That is one truth none of us can deny. Every moment we get to spend with our friends and family is precious because we get so few of those chances. In the end, the only keepsakes we get to keep of those rare moments are our memories. We should rely on those memories for strength and joy.

It can be hard to take a joyful attitude toward Memorial Day. It is a holiday that forces us to remember what we have lost. And we have suffered great losses since that fateful day in September 2001.

But while those losses are painful, there is joy to be found in the fact that our sacrifices have not been in vain. Despite all that our enemies have thrown at us, America remains safe, strong and committed to the ideals of freedom and liberty. The efforts of our service men and women have kept the battle out of the communities and neighborhoods of America.

Since 2001, two new democracies have been created. Literally millions of people who formerly lived under the horror of tyranny now wake every day to a new dawn of opportunity and hope. For every misguided fool who blows himself up, there are thousands who are working to build new schools, hospitals and the institutions of liberty.

This doesn't justify the murder of our innocent citizens and the loss of our brave military men and women. This doesn't justify the atrocities that have been committed against our friends and allies throughout the world. But it does reveal that there is a plan, that someone is in control and that there is a purpose in this life.

There is a piece of Scripture that has always comforted me when thinking about the apparent chaos of this world. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

This Memorial Day, take the time to remember your loved ones and the contributions they made to your lives and those around you. But make it a joyful occasion. Celebrate the time they spent with you and the mem

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