It is late in the evening of May 28, 2012 – Memorial Day 2012. Sometimes we forget too easily what this day is for. Time off work, no school, picnics, holiday sales…our minds are often on these things when we think of Memorial Day Monday. My family is in Annapolis, Maryland, for the graduation and commissioning of the United States Naval Academy Class of 2012. Our son, Charlie, will receive that commissioning tomorrow, and so tonight my thoughts are more oriented towards the true meaning of the memorial holiday.
At the Naval Academy Chapel on the grounds of the USNA, there are beautiful Tiffany stained-glass windows beneath the ornate rotunda in the church. One of these windows is called “The Great Commissioning” and it depicts a midshipman receiving his commissioning as an officer in the United States Navy. It is truly a profound thing to see. Behind the young man is Christ…offering protection and blessing. Walking around the academy, it is hard not to think about the many men and women who have died fighting for our country. Everywhere you look, there are statues and memorials honoring fallen men and women that have served in our nation’s Navy and Marine Corps.
It is an appropriate place to be this weekend, and I am excited to witness the commissioning of this new class of graduates. Yet it is actually the many classes who have come before this one whom we should think about today. Those who have been commissioned, and then who have gone on to do the work of that commission: serving our nation and the freedoms we enjoy as citizens – including our first freedom – religious freedom. We especially remember those who have died in this service. . . those incredible men and women of our Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines who have died fighting for our country since its birth. I thank you, Lord for the lives and sacrifices of all those that have served.
Yes, it is a holiday weekend. Yes, we should have our picnics, and our barbecues, and even our sales, but let’s recall at some point today, all those who have died so that we can enjoy our countless blessings. I hope you had a great day.