Memorial Day; baseball and beer, hamburgers and hot dogs, parades and picnics. Made possible because of battlefields and bravery, hardships and heroes, POW’s and patriots.
Yes we Americans will enjoy what is unofficially, the first day of summer. Yet it was anything but a vacation for our Veterans.
To our valiant soldiers and the families of those who have fallen in defense of our great country, I salute you and give you my utmost respect and admiration.
It seems to me that those of us “older” Americans at times, need to teach younger citizens the importance of honoring our Veterans. A recent You Tube video that I saw captured the essence of this in a most-effective way.
Buzz Williams is the head coach of the Virginia Tech Men’s Basketball team. During the 2016 season, Buzz noticed a general lack of focus shown by players during the pre-game playing of our National Anthem. Guys swaying back and forth, eyes closed, getting pumped up for the fray, while seemingly ignoring “The Star-Spangled Banner,” its words and meaning. The players, in many cases the same ages as the brave soldiers that the song honors, maybe didn’t realize quite realize the sacrifices previously made and presently being made to secure our free country, which freedoms afford young athletes the opportunity to attend college, earn scholarships and play the game(s) that they love.
Rather than yelling or demanding that his players show respect, Buzz decided that teaching them would be more effective. He brought a large group of older Veterans to practice one day and as the two groups met, Buzz explained to his players the very real sacrifices made by these kinds of men and women. He challenged them to do their part and simply, learn the words and meaning of our National Anthem and to stand at attention, like men, when the song is played, whereby showing respect.
The players responded marvelously; they stood upright alongside the Veterans that day and “practiced” what they would soon do on game-days. Here is a link to our website, where we have posted this wonderful video that I urge you to watch and be touched by; Buzz Williams-Our National Anthem.
Just as Buzz graciously taught those under his authority, the Apostle Paul taught Timothy, a young man under Paul’s authority, that is was his duty and by extension, our duty also, to pray for and respect those in authority. These actions are well-pleasing to our heavenly Commander-in-Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who became a ransom payment for all;
- 1 Timothy 2: 1-6 (NIV) I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.
Jude, a disciple of Christ, in his single-chapter epistle, also makes it clear who the ultimate authority is;
- Jude 24-25 (NIV) To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
This Memorial Day, let’s take a cue from Coach Buzz and always remember to thank and honor our Veterans, especially when our National Anthem is played.
This Memorial Day, let’s take a cue from Paul and remember to offer daily prayers for those in authority.
Finally this Memorial Day, let’s recall from Jude, the great blessings and joy that will come to those who believe in, know and love the ultimate authority of the universe, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Phil Henry is a financial adviser who founded and produces short videos and blogs at Phil Henry Power Gospel.