Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
It’s the way it ought to be. Memorial Day a couple of years ago found my wife and I on the road again. That’s a good thing. 2020, as we all know, was a year with most travel shut down for a chunk of the year. It was almost refreshing to spend time again waiting in line as hundreds of other travelers rediscovered the freedom to travel this great land. It was busy because the COVID threat was thankfully in retreat, but it was also Memorial Day weekend…the traditional start of summer. Smile.
As we were waiting to board, the announcer person at the desk announced that the boarding process would be starting in just a few minutes. She let us know that there was going to be a “pecking” order for boarding. Those with special needs and little children were allowed to board first, followed by the people who were what they called “Sky Priority” and what I would call, “the blessed.” That group included the “First Class” folks as well as those in business class. They would all be followed by the normal people in the main cabin. But there was one more group of people who received special treatment…and boy, did they deserve it.
Right behind the people with special needs and small children came this announcement, “Those individuals on active duty in the United States Armed Forces are invited to board now.” Yup…that’s right. Delta did it right. They gave special honor to those serving their country and the reason was simple…they deserved it. And they don’t do it just on Memorial Day weekend—they do it all the time—because they deserve it all the time. Every day, but especially on Memorial Day, we have the opportunity to do what Delta does on every flight—honor those who are serving our country. And we can take it one step farther—we can honor those who have served. I know that is normally reserved for Veteran’s Day, but can we thank them enough for all they have done for all of us?
My wife stumbled upon a story on Facebook that struck especially close to home…literally. We contacted them and received permission to share their post. It goes like this, “When Mr. Charles & Ms. Debbie, with C.D. Ives logging company, were working on clearing trees at a job site north of Naylor in Lanier County, Georgia, between GA Highway 135 & U.S. Highway 221, Mr. Charles noticed the A-10s from Moody Air Force Base would regularly fly over where he was clearing trees; sometimes they would get so close he could easily make out the pilot in the cockpit!”
“He figured since he could see them, maybe they’d be able to see a message letting them know his appreciation for what they do, using only what he had on hand at his job site: trees! Mr. Charles positioned them to spell out “THANKS USAF,” painting them in red, white, & blue paint so they stand out a little better.” The author went on to say, “Hopefully, the pilots have been able to catch a glimpse of this “Thank You” from Mr. Charles & Ms. Debbie as they fly over!” (credit: 05.30.21 The Georgia Photography Fanatic, https://www.facebook.com/thegeorgiaphotographyfanatic) I can only add, how appropriate and how thoughtful.
Like I said, it strikes close to home. You see, Judy was raised right there in that South Georgia area and me, well, I spent four years stationed at Moody Air Force Base myself and yes, it was there that I met Judy and we began our life together. I am grateful that Mr. Charles took it upon himself to honor those pilots at Moody and I hope they got the message. But the question is this, “What can we do right now, today, to honor those who paid the ultimate price and for those who served or are serving?”
Well, there will be multiple opportunities. Maybe your community will have a Memorial Day service or parade. Why not attend? Why not take your children and let them experience the honor afforded those who gave their life that we could be free? Why not visit a local cemetery and look for graves that mark the deceased as a member of the armed forces? Why not stop and say thanks to someone you know who served their country in one of the armed forces? Why not thank God for your freedom and their sacrifice? Why not make a point today to find a way to say, “Thank-you?”
One of the most powerful love verses in the Bible says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” The Book makes it clear that those who die for another or even those willing to die for others are worthy of our honor and respect. So, let’s all enjoy the time with family and friends this Memorial Day. Have a burger and a dog but make it a priority to remember what it is all about—honoring those who laid their life on the line that we could be free. Remembering their sacrifice and remembering the awesome love and power of our great God will also help us remember that no matter what, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne