"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
It’s easy to forget what Memorial Day actually means while you’re sitting by the pool and looking ahead at summer vacation—but the day signifies much more than just a three-day weekend.
Memorial Day is a solemn day of remembrance for everyone who has died serving in the American armed forces. The holiday, originally known as Decoration Day, started after the Civil War to honor the Union and Confederate dead.
It’s unclear exactly where the holiday originated—Charleston, S.C., Waterloo, N.Y., Columbus, Ga. and other towns all claim to be the birthplace of the holiday. The event in Charleston that may have precipitated the holiday offers poignant evidence of a country struggling to rebuild itself after a bloody war: 257 Union soldiers died in prison in Charleston during the Civil War and were buried in unmarked graves, and the town’s black residents organized a May Day ceremony in which they landscaped a burial ground to properly honor the soldiers.
We are honored to remember the many brave men and women who have given their lives throughout the history of our great nation – those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect us from harm. We salute all those now serving and we raise these prayers for their safety and blessing.
A special prayer on Memorial Day -- As we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy every day, we think of how they have followed in the footsteps of your son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Please hold our servicemen and women in your strong arms. Cover them with your sheltering grace and your presence as they stand in the gap for our protection. We also remember the families of our troops. We ask for your unique blessings to fill their homes, and we pray your peace, provision, and strength will fill their lives. May the members of our armed forces be supplied with courage to face each day and may they trust in the Lord's mighty power to accomplish each task. Let our military brothers and sisters feel our love and support. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
A Prayer for Those Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice – Eternal God, Creator of years, of centuries, Lord of whatever is beyond time, Maker of all species and master of all history -- How shall we speak to you from our smallness and in consequence? Except that you have called us to worship you in spirit and in truth; You have dignified us with loves and loyalties; You have lifted us up with your loving kindnesses. Therefore we are bold to come before you without groveling [though we sometimes feel that low] and without fear [though we are often anxious]. We sing with spirit and pray with courage because you have dignified us; You have redeemed us from the aimlessness of things' going meaninglessly well. God, lift the hearts of those for whom this holiday is not just diversion, but painful memory and continued deprivation. Bless those whose dear ones have died needlessly, wastefully [as it seems] in accident or misadventure. We remember with compassion those who have died serving their countries in the futility of combat. There is none of us but must come to bereavement and separation, when all the answers we are offered fail the question death asks of each of us. We believe that you will provide for us as others have been provided with the fulfillment of "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."