Herald Journal Columns
May 26, 2003 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Lest we forget the men and women who fought to be free

By Rev. Gerald Boldt, St. John Evangelical Lutheran, Winsted

Memorial Day is the one day of the year when we take the time to remember those American warriors who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Yet, so few really remember Memorial Day.

Years ago this special day of remembering was moved from May 30 to the last Monday of May in order for Americans to have another three day weekend to get away and to celebrate the start of summer.

The sad result is that few recall those service members who have died in military conflict. Nonetheless, their brave sacrifice has made it possible for even the ungrateful to enjoy their cold beer while relaxing on their boats or in their cabins at the lake.

But then, those brave veterans I remember would not think less of those who ignore this day of remembrance.

Our brave dead Americans gave their best and we can now enjoy our liberties and the pursuit of our dreams.

But it is sad to realize that their memories fade so quickly. How many remember the Friday Evening News when the news anchor would give battle losses for the war in Vietnam for the week?

Enemy losses were estimated and rounded off, but the number of Americans killed always struck a cold note of calculated perfection when on the background visual it would indicate 974 or 1,153 Americans killed in action for that week.

As time passes so do our memories of Americans killed in battle. Children in school seldom study the role of our country's military in history classes.

Adults have trouble remembering that fact that our nation owes its existence to countrymen who have fought and died in wars from before the American Revolution.

This is a problem that may never find an answer. One of the benefits of our democratic country is that the lessons learned from war are never crammed down the throats of younger Americans looking to their bright futures made possible by those veterans who gave their all.

As a pastor, I have no fear to proclaim Jesus Christ as our crucified and risen Savior on any given Sunday morning from the pulpit of St. John's.

In countries like Iran, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia, I would be arrested, tortured and even killed for standing in front of other Christians to make my confession.

We should be most grateful that God does not forget. We should thank him from the bottom of our hearts that he has given us the gift of American freedom that only a fractional few in our world have been so blessed to receive.

We should also understand that our country and the freedoms we enjoy are gifts from God Almighty ­ gifts that come at a high cost paid by those who have given their lives.

God has not forgotten our nation, and we should never forget to thank him or fail to remember those he as given who have served and died for our country.

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