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Those Who Have Laid Down Their Lives, Memorial Day, May 28, 2023

John 15:12-17, Remembering the True Meaning of Memorial Day

Since I was not in the armed services, I searched to get the words of someone who has served. The following thoughts were written in 2015, by Major James Livingston, USAF Retired, and were from the DaytonLocal.com. Major Livingston wrote, “A three-day weekend filled with BBQ's, fun and the Indy 500. So, what is behind our fun-filled weekend?

“Most people know it has something to do with remembering the people serving or who have served in the military. Some confuse this day with Veterans Day, a day honoring all veterans.

“This day was set aside to remember and honor a very select group who have served. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War.

“By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars.

Major Livingston continued, “No one likes war, least of all military personnel. We know what the costs are more than most. Yet we train, prepare, and hope the day never comes. However, if or when the time comes, we step up to serve. Some give their life, the ultimate sacrifice, in that service. Those men and women are who we remember today…

“So, while enjoying the day off, please take at least a moment to remember the true meaning of the day to say, “Thanks,” to those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

“Never Forget.” End quote….

Most of us know the devastation that the death of a service member can make in a family. Briefly I want to lift up one Service member: Army SP4 Gregory Bert Johnson, was born September 24, 1946 to Doris and Ollie Johnson, and died in Viet Nam on March 20, 1967, 20 years old. Greg had one brother Philip Eric Johnson, my best friend in high school.

After Greg’s death in Viet Nam, Phil’s and Greg’s mom Doris, had a nervous breakdown and was never the same. Phil’s and Greg’s dad, Ollie, loved and supported Doris but theirs was a shell of their former family.

Before Greg went to boot camp to serve GOD and Country, he was beating up Phil one last time. As he grabbed Phil by the throat, Phil said, “I hope you die in Viet Nam.”

That was the last thing Phil ever said to his brother, Greg; and Phil never forgave himself. This family was tore apart by Greg’s sacrifice.

So many families are remembering their loved ones today…

Jesus loves us and gives us our marching orders in today’s scripture. John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

Today we remember the women and men who laid down their lives for GOD and Country, for friends they never met.

Jesus continued to say in verse 14, “You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

The answer according to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is for us to Love GOD with all of our Hearts, Souls, Minds, and Strength; and to Love One Another.

Let us pray…O Great and Wonderful GOD, today we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for you, GOD, our country, and our freedom. Please GOD, help us remember today and NEVER FORGET the sacrifice these women and men have made. In Jesus’ Name we pray…Amen.

Please rise as you are able and Let us sing “GOD Bless America.”

"God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam, God bless America, my home sweet home."

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