Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Memorial Day and the cross

This email was just sent out by my friend (and boss), Dave Mead who directs the Navigators Military Mission. I thought it was worth reposting. Happy Memorial Day:

Memorial Day is a special day for Americans. For many it signifies the start of summer and all its halcyon activities. For some it means a shopping spree with the hope of finding a plethora of discounted items. But for all it should be a day of remembrance for those who sacrificed their lives while serving our nation as members of our Armed Forces.

In the span of our living generations, the last 71 years (since the start of World War II), we’ve lost over 507,000 men and women. The campaigns are many: WW II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Just Cause (Panama), Desert Shield/Storm, Restore Hope (Somalia), Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), and Operation New Dawn (OIF, OEF, & OND total 6,330 fatalities) with the addition of many peacekeeping missions. As we serve and minister to those in uniform, many of us are directly touched by the tragedy of war and the price of peace.

I am. Memorial Day has great significance for me and my family. I never knew my grandfather. He was a bomber pilot who died on a bombing mission somewhere in the South China Sea in November 1942. When I was stationed at Fort Campbell in December 1985, the 101st Airborne Division lost 248 soldiers when their DC-8 crashed while taking off from Gander, Newfoundland. Three were Navigators including one of my best friends. As a Reserve Commanding Officer, I had two of my men die in Iraq. I remember the difficulty of writing my letters of condolence to their families. I still weep when hearing “Taps” as I did at their funerals. Memorial Day is profoundly personal for me.

So on Monday, I’ll remember my fallen comrades, pray for their families, and solemnly reflect on the privilege of knowing some of these great Americans. But ultimately, Memorial Day leads me to the cross…remembering Jesus Christ who served and sacrificed more than we can ever imagine so that we can experience the incredible--true life and purpose in Him. Let Memorial Day be a true day of remembrance (Lk 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:24-26). In Christ, it is a new season, full of hope through His sacrifice!

Dave Mead
Director, Military Mission
The Navigators

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