For the first time in the history of Harding, we have a holiday today in recognition of Memorial Day. Don't ask me why it hasn't happened before now. When I was in school here in the 70's, we used to go to school on the 4th of July..................no, I'm NOT kidding! Being thankful for Thanksgiving brought on a whole new meaning, and we couldn't believe we got several weeks at Christmas. But hey, we survived. Live and learn.
I didn't lose a dad in war.........nor any close relative for that matter. I have lost friends, and that is hard enough. Marshall Atkins was one of my best friends in High School in Liberia in the early 70's, and we lost him in a mid-air collision over Nevada in the 90's. He was a Navy pilot, and dang good one. I still miss him, and think of him more often than just on Memorial Day. I currently have a nephew in the Army, and his time to be shipped somewhere overseas is coming. I worry for him, and I worry for the stress it will be on my sister.
No, I don't think God loves America any more than he loves Zambia. I don't believe that because I am an American, that I am an extra special Christian in God's eyes. But I am thankful for my freedoms, and that I live in a country where lots of people DO still believe in God and His mercy and grace. And I know that the reason I have the freedoms I have is because some other people gave their lives for those very freedoms I enjoy every day! I would hope everybody in the world could enjoy these freedoms that we have as Americans. Even more, I would hope each person in the world could enjoy the freedom we have in Christ as Christians!
I am a Christian first, a husband and father second, a friend third, and lastly an American. The first three were because of decisions and choices I made.......the last one was made for me because I was born in Duncan, Oklahoma in 1955. I could change my citizenship, and it for sure wouldn't affect me being a Christian........nor I suspect the other two things either. But for now, I feel blessed to live in this country we call the United States of America. And I appreciate the thousands of people who gave up their life for me........and you. John 15: 13 says: "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends". I feel very sure that is EXACTLY what our wonderful veterans felt like they were doing!
So today, I honor them. They are due it.
I loved you Marshall, and I still do! I can't wait to be with you again, and see that special gleem in your eye that you always had. I still miss seeing it.