What Have We Learned?

Submitted May 27, 2011

What Have We Learned?
American Cemetary, Normandy

Source: Darris McNeely

Monday is Memorial Day in America. A day we remember those who have died in service to the country. Flags fly and flowers are placed on graves. Not as many go to the cemeteries as in the past. I guess we are too busy sometimes to pause.

My father, a World War II veteran, would always wear a poppy on Memorial Day. Pressed between the pages of his service Bible was a dried poppy. When I asked him where it came from he said it came from a place called Flanders. He then recited a poem, "In Flanders Fields".

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields

It is one of the best known poems of war written by a Canadian doctor named John McCrae in World War I. It was also the only poem I ever heard my father recite.

We observe Memorial Day not for the dead, they know nothing, but for ourselves–that we might learn. What we need to learn is the way to peace instead of war. What is needed is a “new religion”, one unlike the traditional religions of today's world. It will take a new religion, one that truly changes mens hearts and minds, to produce the way to peace rather than war.

Isaiah talks of the day when rods will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. Nations will no longer go to war neither will the art of war be taught and studied in the war colleges. A new religion will be taught from Jerusalem–one not taught now. It will be based on the righteous teachings of the God of Jacob. (Isaiah:2:2-4)

We honor those who have fallen in war. Their service enables the freedoms we hold dear. Abraham Lincoln described such men and women as those "who gave the last full measure of devotion". Our devotion to the coming kingdom of God is a statement that their sacrifice was not in vain.

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Roger Christiansen

Roger Christiansen's picture

Well Stated, and thank you.

In the words of a timeless phrase found on the Confederate Memorial in Arlington Cemetery:

"Not for fame or reward, not for place or rank, but for simple obedience to duty, as they understood it."

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