Memorial Day time to remember those who died for us

By Joan Clayton

Memorial Day brings reflections, honoring and remembering those who have gone on before us. The importance of younger generations knowing and appreciating the principles that has made America great cannot be measured.
As a child during World War II, I vividly remember the symbols of pain and sacrifice. My grandmother lived by the highway and the railroad tracks. I spent many hours waving to troop trains and army caravans. “”They are giving their lives for us,” Granny said through misty eyes. Some will not come back.”
Many did not. How well I remember Granny’s neighbor receiving a telegram: “We regret to inform you…”
I remember gasoline rationing stamps, defense stamp corsages, victory gardens and the slogan “Loose lips sink ships.”
Patriotism abounded. Men and women went off to war to keep America free from tyranny.
Growing up in a small town made me acutely aware of the boy down the street saying his last good-bye to loved ones.
The day after my high school sweetheart and I graduated from high school brought a special pain. I watched that big Greyhound bus carry Emmitt off to war. In my mind’s eye, I can still see him waving from the window through his tears. “Sentimental Journey” became our favorite song and we both held each other in our hearts.
We remember on this day all of those who have lost their lives in protecting people. I think of firemen, policemen and others who put their lives on the line everyday.
Love and unselfishness is displayed in its truest form. I am grateful for these brave men and women.
On this Memorial Day may we remember and be grateful for all of those in the military who have sacrificed for our freedom. “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13 NIV).
Let’s remember those suffering from the hands of leaders who afflict untold misery, within and without.
I’m thankful for those in my own heritage who left a spiritual legacy for me, and example for overcoming problems through undaunted faith in God.
Every day is Memorial Day for a man who died for me. He died that I might live. He paid my debt I could not pay. He gave his life for my freedom and my eternal salvation. I thank God for Jesus.
Recounting the faithfulness of God in my own life testifies to his presence. He is always there to encourage, sustain, comfort and heal. It is hard to see the way clear when one is going through the valley, but even in the darkest night we are not alone…. “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” Hebrews 13:5 NIV).
Whenever I recount my memorials and the places the Lord has brought me through, how can I help but sing about his goodness and mercy? I will remember every day the price Jesus paid by his death on the cross and I will thank him for that great sacrifice.
On this Memorial Day I will remember, honor and be thankful for those who have gone on before me.

“Death is not the end. It seems so final now.
A loved one’s in the grave. We must carry on somehow.
That dear one left the body, for a better place.
No more painful moments because of God’s great grace.”

“Memorial Day” is special because living in America is a privilege! I love seeing “Old Glory” proudly waving. I feel a lump in my throat whenever I hear our national anthem. Every time I say the “Pledge of Allegiance,” I want to say “Amen.”
Let us all remember those who have made America the greatest place on earth.

Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is:
joan@yucca.net