Posted by: mikenicholsblog | May 26, 2013

a SIGNIFICANT memorial

Celebrations mean different things to different people.  My father-in-law was a decorated war veteran, having received a silver star with oak leaf cluster, a purple heart and five bronze stars.  He was a true war hero.  He knew what it took to put his life on the line for his country.  When Memorial Day would come each year he really understood its significance.  Having never served in the military, I can easily look at this special day as just a holiday and miss its significance.

Last Friday evening, my wife and I were with some friends for dinner.  Before giving thanks for the meal, the host said he was wearing a red shirt in honor of all those who had given their lives for our freedom.  It caused me to pause because of his sensitivity to what I was looking at as just a holiday weekend.  He got the significance of the price that bought our freedom.  Later that night the same gentleman read an email detailing the incredible devotion of the men and women who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Today, our President will lay a wreath at that very tomb.  The email detailed the unyielding commitment of those who guard that tomb every hour, 365 days a year.  Those who guard the tomb willingly give up personal comfort to live with discipline, precision and self- sacrifice for a cause they regard as greater than themselves.  Without a doubt, they understand the significance that provides all of us freedom on this Memorial Day.  The creed that these dedicated men and women live by is below; What Devotion!  It’s called The Sentinels Creed:

My dedication to this sacred duty is total and wholehearted.  In the responsibility bestowed on me never will I falter.  And with dignity and perseverance my standard will remain perfection.  Through the years of diligence and praise and the discomfort of the elements, I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability.  It is he who commands the respect I protect.  His bravery that made us so proud.  Surrounded by well-meaning crowds by day alone in the thoughtful peace of night, this soldier will in honored glory rest under my eternal vigilance.  –Simon 1971

To give you a picture of their dedication, I want to share with you what happened in 2004 as reported by ABC news.  Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, DC.  Because of the impending danger from the storm, the military members assigned guard duty at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend their assignment.  They respectfully declined saying, “No way, Sir!”  Soaked to the skin and marching through a terrific storm, these soldiers said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, but the highest honor afforded a service person. They understood the significance of what bought our freedom.

Remembering my father-in-law’s sacrifice, listening to my friend’s sensitivity and learning the dedication of those guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has changed this Memorial Day for me.  I will not let its significance pass me by this year.  What about you?  Flags will fly, parades will take place, and a wreath will be placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier representing to all of us the price of our freedom.  It will be a significant day!

There is another tomb that we should honor today … an empty one.  All Christ-followers are soldiers who were given freedom by the Savior who rose from that Tomb.  Can it be said of you and me that our dedication matches that of the Sentinels Creed?  The day Christ arose was truly SIGNIFICANT!


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