My husband, Keith, shared his thoughts on Memorial Day at Calvary Chapel Beaumont yesterday.
I want to say a few words about Memorial Day, but let’s begin with a Bible verse. Jesus told his disciples in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than someone lay down his life for his friends.“
Tomorrow, we celebrate Memorial Day. Some will look at it as a free day off from work—a day to go to the beach or barbeque with family or friends. All those things are great, but let us not forget the purpose of the day is to Remember … Reflect on… and to Honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedom. I read this week that it’s over 645,000 since World War I—to them we owe our thanks.
I am retired Air Force and spent 6 of those 22 years overseas. I think of two people I came to know on this special day. One was Scarlett, a woman I worked with in my Air Force unit in the early 1980s. In November 1985, she was flying from Athens to Cairo to spend the Thanksgiving holidays. Her EgyptAir flight was highjacked on the way to Cairo. The plane landed in Malta for refueling and the authorities surrounded the plane and demanded the passengers be released. Some of the passengers were released, but not all. The terrorists decided to start killing passengers every few minutes until they got their fuel. Scarlett was taken to the open door on the plane, executed, and thrown to the tarmac.
My second story is about an Army Lieutenant Rowe, Green Beret, who was captured in Vietnam in 1963 and spent 5 years as a POW. He was locked in a 6 x 3 x 4 foot cage. He had managed to keep his identity as special forces secret, but the Viet Cong found out in 1968. They weren’t going to permit that. Two of his guards placed him in a vehicle to take him to another location. Fortunately, an American chopper flew over and distracted the guards. The Lieutenant killed both of the guards and was then picked up by the chopper and returned to the U.S. I met Col Rowe in 1985 when he had just been placed in command of a Special Warfare Training Battalion at Ft. Bragg. Several years later he took an assignment to the Philippines to be an advisor to the Philippine military. He was aware of the threats on his life, but he went anyway. He was on his way to work in April 1989 in Manila when he was assassinated by the New People’s Army.
My favorite song on this day is “God Bless the USA.” I’m not a singer so I will read a few lines.
And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today.
Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God Bless the USA.
We say God bless to those who have given of their lives to make America strong and to those who remain prepared to fight for us today.
Please stand and join me in prayer:
Father, we stand before You today to thank You for all that we enjoy—the freedom, the privileges, and our ability to worship You. We thank You for those who have gone before us and paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy our freedoms. We pray for those who are in the military today and ask that You keep them safe. We pray for the families and friends who have lost loved ones in those situations.
Most of all we thank You for Jesus who paid the ultimate sacrifice by laying down His life for our sins so that we can know your love and look forward to spending eternity with You. We love You.
Then the Church said “Amen.”