“Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Military… originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades” (History.com, Memorial Day).
A Dennis Prager video, The Fallen Soldier, portrays a fallen soldier saying this: “I sacrificed everything for you. This Memorial Day remember me, the fallen warrior, not for my sake, but for yours. Remember what I sacrificed, so that you can truly appreciate the incredible treasures you have – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness… Live a life that honors us, and make every day Memorial Day.”
It is true that we should never forget that many have made the ultimate sacrifice for us. Many have given their lives so that we may live in “the land of the free.”
The Bible also calls upon us to remember certain ones.
1. Jesus. The Lord’s Supper is to be partaken “in remembrance” of Him (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Jesus said of the bread, “Take, eat; this is My body” (Matthew 26:26). He said of the cup, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).
God did not want Israel to forget what He had done for them, in the Exodus. He wanted them to “remember” (Deuteronomy 5:15; 7:18; 8:2; 8:18; 9:7; 15:15; 16:3; 16:12; 24:9; 24:18; 24:22; 32:7), and not to “forget” (Deuteronomy 4:9; 4:23; 6:12; 8:11-17; 9:7; 25:19). To help them remember, He gave them the Sabbath (Deuteronomy 5:12-15), the Passover (Deuteronomy 16:1-8 cf. Exodus 12:24-26), the Feast of weeks (Deuteronomy 16:9-12); and the Feast of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:13-17 cf. Leviticus 23:33-44).
Similarly, He wants us to remember and not forget. To help us, He gave us the Lord’s Supper. In which, we have communion with the body and blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:16).
“Lest I forget Gethsemane; Lest I forget Thine agony; Lest I forget Thy love for me, Lead me to Calvary” (Song: Lead Me to Calvary by Jennie Evelyn Hussey).
2. Those who strive to help us. While these may not have given their lives for us (as Jesus), and while these may not be flawless individuals (as Jesus), still they should be remembered and appreciated. I admit that I stand on the shoulders of other. Most of us (if not all of us) do.
Joseph told the chief butler, “Remember me when it is well with you” (Genesis 40:14). However, he “did not remember him” (Genesis 40:23). We should not be like this.
We should remember our teachers. Timothy was instructed, “But you continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the holy scriptures, which is able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
We should remember those who watch for our souls. The writer of Hebrews instructs, “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct… obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:7, 17).
Some would be willing to spend and to be spent for our souls sake (2 Corinthians 12:15). These should be held in esteem (Philippians 2:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13) May we appreciate such people, and be thankful. “Honor all people, Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17).
God remembers. “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” ( Hebrews 6:10). Jesus said, “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42).