Memorial Day


Memorial Day.jpg

Today Mark, Hannah, our grandson Gabriel, and I had the privilege of sharing about our soldier killed in action, Gabriel De Roo, at the Memorial Day Service at our local cemetery. Here are the brief thoughts I shared for my part of the event:

Perhaps like you, my deepening understanding of the significance of Memorial Day has grown through the years.

Growing up in Northern California in the 50’s during times of peace and prosperity I had little connection with military life.  Memorial Day was always the day our family went to pick cherries and came home to listen to the Indianapolis 500 on the radio while we prepared the cherries for canning.

When I married in the 60’s, my husband was in the Coast Guard and so Memorial Day became more meaningful, but still there was a blur with Veteran’s Day.

But 12 years ago when our dear son in law was killed by a sniper in Iraq, my whole view of Memorial Day became solidly fixed on the true meaning of this special day.  The loss and heartache experienced by spouses, parents, and family of those who gave their lives for our freedoms became completely clear to me.  For our family God was our greatest comfort—knowing that He was lovingly in complete control of all that came into our lives—but also, knowing his care for our sorrow. 

Today Memorial Day is a beautiful blend for me of remembering the brave people who have died for us and remembering the God who comforts the brokenhearted.


As a child Memorial Day marked the day our family picked cherries and began preserving them for the coming year as we listened to the vroom of race cars coming from the big family radio as the Indianapolis 500 progressed. Today this holiday has a much richer and more sobering meaning for me.

Our grandson Gabriel at his father's gravesite on Memorial Day.

Our grandson Gabriel at his father's gravesite on Memorial Day.

Ten years ago when our son-in-law was killed in action in Iraq the true meaning and purpose of Memorial Day suddenly became clear and meaningful. All the wonderful freedoms we enjoy in America have been preserved for us by men and women who were willing to give their lives in the process.  Truly, freedom is not free.

An even greater freedom has been purchased by Jesus' death on the cross for us.  John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  But, this freedom is forever--freedom from the consequences that were due us because of our selfish thoughts and actions.  And freedom to do all that makes a life blessed--His will.