This is Memorial day weekend in the United States. Monday is designated as a national day to recall the sacrifice of fellow Americans who defended our life and liberty with thier lives. Very few of us will do anything symbolic, or otherwise, to remember these valiant defenders. Memorial Day is one holiday that we tend to pass by and treat as just another day to fix up this or go here and there. That is sad really, since our liberty will likely only last as long as we have the collective will and memory to defend it.

Yesterday, walking through the Atlanta Airport, I saw a billboard that made me stop and read it. It pictured a group of goldfish swimming in formation. The caption said, "Did you know that goldfish have a memory of their last experience that lasts for only three seconds?" I reflected on that question off and on since Friday afternoon. I think it represents the problem in our land. We have a collective memory that lasts about three seconds. We remember the last video game, the last concert, the last film, the last issue on television, whatever it might be, for about three seconds. We have far too much time to do far too much that destroys real memory.

Memory, especially among a people in a society, is precious and vital. If we forget who we are, what price was paid to grant us the life we now enjoy, and thus what is needed to protect our life and liberty in the pursuit of happiness then we are not likely to retain it in the long term. I hope some of you will have a "memory" this Memorial Day, a memory of our collective history and of how we got to this point in our nation’s journey that lasts for more than three seconds. I am a child of God and a citizen of Christ’s Kingdom, above all else. But I am, in the right order of things, also a citizen of my nation and thus I thank God for his unusual providence in giving us so much with which to bless others. I will celebrate Memorial Day and give thanks for men and women who gave their lives for me.

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  1. Tim Terhune May 27, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    Thank you for the excellent post John. I read it this morning in our worship service and it was appreciated by our congregation. Now they think I really know how to write good stuff (just kidding–I did give attribution). I found my grandfather’s WWI enlisment form online yesterday. is making all of their military records available to search free of charge until June 6. It’s a good way to remember.

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