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For Memorial Day, a restaurant in our town displayed a message on their marque that read:
“‘Thank you’ to those who never came home.”
Why do we remember our fallen military heroes? This was the original purpose for Memorial Day when it was begun during the War Between the States. We remember for two reasons: One, God tells us to remember our past as a nation, so we will see His Providential Hand in it; and thus, He will become more real to us. When we remember His work in the past, it aids our faith in believing Him for miracles now. The Bible commands us to remember our history. It states,
“Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will show thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.” (Deuteronomy 32:7)
Secondly, remembering our past helps us know the price of liberty. Just as remembering Jesus’ suffering at the cross brought about the internal liberty for man that would grow into external civil liberty, remembering the sacrifice of those who suffered and died to preserve that liberty makes us praise God for that liberty. And since civil liberty is for the purpose of allowing the Gospel to flow freely in public in a nation, we should honor that liberty and those who defended it. I believe it is an act of honor to God to do so.
In order to more fully appreciate the sacrifice of our fathers, let’s look with some detail at a battle that was a major turning point in World War II. Iwo Jima is tiny Island in the Pacific Ocean some 750 miles south of the Japanese mainland. It was needed as an airbase in WWII, since our heavy bombers could not carry enough fuel from Hawaii to reach Japan. Recognizing its strategic importance, the Japanese Empire had been fortifying it for many years.
Between February 19th and March 26th, 1945, American Marines battled 22,000 entrenched Japanese soldiers. The Japanese had forced us to defend our liberty by attacking us at Pearl Harbor over three years before this time. 566 Marines died the first day of the invasion. This is the price of liberty.
But God showed up at Iwo Jima. Though the Japanese had set up machine guns to create a three-way crossfire, our men doggedly push forward on the beach ever so slowly. On the fifth day one of the Commanders offered a bold plan to claim this island for the United States and liberty. He proposed putting a flag on top of the highest mountain on the island, a volcano named Mt. Suribachi. What may seem amazing to us is, Marines volunteered for this effort! Forty men climbed out of their foxholes and began to make their way up the mountain. But what was even more amazing is — not one shot was fired at them as they made their way up that mountain, even though there were over 500 Japanese soldiers in the tunnels under Mt. Suribachi!! What was discovered later was a deep depression had come over the Japanese in those tunnels and hundreds of them had committed suicide. I knew a WWII veteran here in East Kentucky who watched that flag go up from the ship he was assigned to. I believe it was a Providential Act of God which enabled those Marines to raise that flag against overwhelming odds.
Are we willing to lay down our lives for liberty as were those Marines on Iwo Jima? Can our lives be summed up as theirs were in the statement on the Iwo Jima Memorial?
“Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue.”
Do you remember the price of liberty?
Think about it; because if you don’t, someone else will do your thinking for you — and for your children! And you won’t like what that brings to you. I’m Don Pinson; this has been Think About It.