War has been part of our world culture since the beginning. There has always been someone who wanted what or whom someone else had. We see it today in wars happening all over the world. The one we may be most aware of is in Ukraine, but there are at least 26 other wars happening now as well.
Memorial Day is a time of remembering all those who have died in service to our country, who have given their lives to protect us and provide us hope for a better future. It’s a time to remember the sacrifice, selflessness, and service of those no longer with us.
It’s easy for many of us, especially those living in America, to ignore or push aside the realities of war, where life is at stake and loss and suffering happen constantly. Memorial Day is often hyped as the beginning of the picnic/barbecue season and the opportunity to get furniture, appliances, and paint for great prices. Unless we’ve lost loved ones or have relatives who have died in the past in conflicts, it’s difficult to focus on the degree of loss and sadness that this day brings up for many.
But this is an appropriate season to remember those who have died unnecessarily in conflicts that shouldn’t have happened. For those who missed out on living because someone decided that fighting for something that they weren’t meant to have was a choice they could make.
Think of those horrid shootings in Buffalo, Sacramento, and Uvalde, Texas. Adults and children who have lost their lives over the aggressive anger of others. This year alone there have been 27 school shootings and 213 mass shootings–planned violence that doesn’t value people’s lives.
We’ve lost the significance of the worth of human life. Every life. No matter the ethnicity, color, socioeconomic status, or geographical home–all lives have meaning. To lose anyone to methods that deprive people unnecessarily of the chance to live is morally wrong.
We’ve all been created by a Master Designer with a purpose for life.
“So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27
We’ve each been given a mind to think and process information, a will to determine the choices we’ll make in life, and emotions that give our hearts the substance to care for and about others.
In no way does this indicate that we will do anything in light of this reality. We’ve each been given free will to determine what path we will follow in life, what we will focus on, and who, if anyone, we choose to follow. God has, however, given us a chance to value life as He values it. We have the ability to see others for who they are and what they’re worth.
What may be harder is having the capacity to see hope and merit in others.
This Memorial Day, I’m going to pause. To be grateful to those who gave their lives for me to have life in a country I’m fortunate to live in.
I’ll also think about those who have lost life needlessly in a world full of pain, anger, and hurt. People who won’t have the chance to follow their dreams or hopes.
Life is precious, to everyone.
We get to choose that way of thinking.