Man Up Musings - Man Up Adventures

Memorial Day

Galen Thompson

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America.

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. The sheer number of soldiers of both sides who died in the Civil War (more than 600,000) meant that burial and memorialization took on new cultural significance; the cost was large; the cost was fresh. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30, wherein grateful citizens should decorate graves of fallen soldiers “with the choicest flowers of springtime.” Logan further urged, “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. ... Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.” If you want to know the value of unity (worth celebrating and memorializing) ask a nation fresh out of civil war (600,000 worth).

The first observance, with about 5,000 in attendance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. In 1868, Memorial events were held in 183 other cemeteries in 27 states.

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the Grand Army of the Republic made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities. Memorial Day speeches became an occasion for veterans, politicians, and ministers to commemorate the War and, at first, to rehash the "atrocities" of the enemy. They mixed religion and celebratory nationalism and provided a means for the people to make sense of their history in terms of sacrifice for a better nation. People of all religious beliefs joined together and the point was often made that the German and Irish soldiers had become true Americans in the "baptism of blood" on the battlefield.

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. Then, in 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

Memorial Day started off as a somber day of remembrance; a day when orphan Americans went to cemeteries and placed flags or flowers on the graves of our war dead. It was a day to remember ancestors, family members, and loved ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice for Union and freedom.

But now, too many people “celebrate” Memorial Day without more than a casual thought to the purpose and meaning of the day. Memorial Day's meaning to them is BBQs and Beaches! How do we honor the 1.8 million that gave their life for America since 1775? How do we thank them for their sacrifice? Memorial Day is one day in which we remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

The “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on December 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.” This resolution was passed under the acknowledgement that the flame of appreciation for those who gave their lives for our unity and freedom was a fast fading, smoldering wick, and for the purpose to fan and reignite the flames of appreciation.

Often, the further one moves away from the anniversary of unity and freedom, the less meaning and gratitude is expressed for unity and freedom. Sadly, today, for most school-aged children would define Memorial Day as the "beginning of Summer" or as "the day the pool opens." In 2006, only 28% knew the true meaning of Memorial Day. 40% thought it was "Veterans' Day" (remembering those who served in the military versus remembering those who died in service of the United States of America- acknowledge the Veterans).

We must remember the price paid for our freedom! I, as a member of the United States of America, I am proud of and grateful for our freedom.

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May we never forfeit our sovereignty and dominion! Some in recent years have drifted so far so as to feel it necessary to apologize for our freedom; some even to the point of despising it, and protesting our freedom by burning the flag - the emblem of our freedom. They, who have paid no price for their freedom and live life-long in freedom often do not appreciate freedom nor the price paid for that freedom. Their disregard for freedom is a mockery to those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom!

I am proud be a citizen of the land of the free and the home of the brave. Further, and more importantly, I am proud and grateful for the ultimate price Jesus paid for my spiritual freedom. Let me not forget to remember the time when I lived outside of (without) freedom. May my gratefulness for unity and freedom never diminish, only increase in value! I will never, with the help of Jesus, forfeit my sovereignty or dominion!

Freedom and dominion were inherent within creation. Man was created free and granted dominion by God. Mankind only knew good and had no knowledge of evil. God in His love for His ultimate creation, forbid mankind to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of God AND evil. Satan, in subtlety, deceived Eve into partaking of the fruit and Adam, in full knowledge and disobedience, partook of the fruit. Satan stole, or should I say, Adam forfeited freedom and dominion to Satan at the Fall. Immediately their eyes were opened to know BOTH good AND evil. What a dark day; it was not, as promised by a Satan, a day of enlightenment but a day of darkness and death: a death of innocence, a death to what they had...freedom and dominion.

Freedom evaporated into exposure, nakedness.
Shame entered.
Cover-up followed.
Hiding became instinctual.
Separation entered.
Fear entered.
Pain entered.
Loss entered.
Illness entered.
Death entered...
death to what they had, death to what could be.
Dominion and freedom was forfeited.
The heel of mankind was bitten by the Serpent.
The curse entered.

But with the curse came a promise!

“The Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel"” - Genesis 3:14-15 ESV

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Everything that was lost by the first Adam was regained by the second Adam, but at an ultimate price: baptism in blood! Death!

“Who would have believed what we just heard? When was the LORD’s power revealed through him? He sprouted up like a twig before God, like a root out of parched soil; he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, no special appearance that we should want to follow him. He was despised and rejected by people, one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness; people hid their faces from him; he was despised, and we considered him insignificant. But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. All of us had wandered off like sheep; each of us had strayed off on his own path, but the LORD caused the sin of all of us to attack him. He was treated harshly and afflicted, but he did not even open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block, like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not even open his mouth. He was led away after an unjust trial – but who even cared? Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the rebellion of his own people he was wounded. They intended to bury him with criminals, but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb, because he had committed no violent deeds, nor had he spoken deceitfully. Though the LORD desired to crush him and make him ill, once restitution is made, he will see descendants and enjoy long life, and the LORD’s purpose will be accomplished through him. Having suffered, he will reflect on his work, he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done. “My servant will acquit many, for he carried their sins. So I will assign him a portion with the multitudes, he will divide the spoils of victory with the powerful, because he willingly submitted to death and was numbered with the rebels, when he lifted up the sin of many and intervened on behalf of the rebels”” - Isaiah 53:1-12 NET

Here Isaiah prophecies that the Messiah will undo every curse! Thank God, He did!

“Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven" - 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 ESV
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you" - 1 Peter 1:18-20 KJV
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" - John 8:36 KJV

To all of us living in the unity and freedom of Christ, do...

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage - Galatians 5:1 KJV

Men and fathers, lead your family today in two moments of remembrance:

  1. For the blood Christ shed for our freedom and eternal hope.
  2. For the blood shed by our forefathers and contemporary citizens for unity and freedom!


Galen Thompson

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