A Time To Remember

As we come to Memorial Day, I invite us to pause for a time to remember and give thanks to and for those who has served in protecting our freedom.  This is not light task but rather an honorable endeavor that often calls for the greatest of sacrifice. Recently Chaplain Ray Bailey, an elder in the Central Texas Conference currently serving as a Brigadier General Deputy Chief of Chaplains in the United States Army, shared with me the following story (used with permission):

Remembering our Fallen on Memorial Day

Recently I was asked by a widow to lead a simple service of remembrance at the grave of her husband buried in Arlington Cemetery.  It was the one year anniversary of his death.  As I walked to the gravesite, I noticed several family members at various graves paying honors and grieving at their loss.  Walking by one grave was a young woman and several other family members and friends placing a blanket on the grave so the wife could sit.  A wheelchair was there with a young Marine who had no legs.  He slowly lifted himself up by his arms and sat down on the blanket.  The wife gently stroked the tombstone and wept. I positioned myself by the tombstone where I was to conduct the service.  The family gathered and we began.  There were tears, smiles of memory, and solemn looks as I shared love, hope, and faith.  After I concluded I turned back toward the other graves and to my surprise, every eye of multiple families in the area was watching me had been listening to my words.  There were tears, smiles, and silent mouthing of "thank you" given me.  I was so moved by the moment. I slowly went back to my car and noticed the Marine slowly lift himself up back into his wheelchair while the young wife slowly folded the blanket to depart.  When I came close, she reached out and took my hand and through her tears, she smiled and thanked me for my words that meant so much in her pain.  As I drove away tears streamed down my face as I prayed, "Dear Lord, hold them in your hands."

           -A personal story, CH Ray Bailey

 Courage, commitment, duty, and honor are old fashioned words that merit our proper respect and gratitude. Behind the noble sentiment of Memorial Day are the lives and loves of real people; people with families, friends and loved ones. This day is for us a proper time to remember and give thanks.  With General Bailey we too pray, "Dear Lord, hold them in your hands." memorial day