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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Vantage Point: Meaningful Memorials

By Ken Horn
May 26, 2013

Tomorrow we have a solemn opportunity to honor those who have paid the dearest price to keep our nation free. We call it Memorial Day. It was originally known as Decoration Day.

First observed in 1868, three years following the close of the Civil War, the day was meant to both honor the dead, and, in an unspoken sense, to help the nation heal while the rift between North and South was being mended. There was probably no one in the nation who was untouched by the tragedy that accompanied that four-year tribulation. Adorning the graves of those who had died in the great conflict had become a nearly omnipresent routine of life.

Lest this constant attention keep the wound of war from healing, an official day was set aside on a national level.

Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia served as the host site that first year. The speaker was a congressman, minister and former major general in the Union Army. James A. Garfield would also become our nation’s 20th president. Following the speech, 5,000 individuals decorated more than 20,000 graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers.

As wars mounted, the focus of Memorial Day was expanded to include all the dead who had perished serving their nation. Unfortunately, the numbers have continued to climb.

Memorial Day and Veterans Day have different purposes. While the latter honors all who have served, the former honors those who have given their lives while serving in the military.

Christians have an added dimension to their commemoration of Memorial Day. It reminds us not only that lives are on the line. Souls also hang in the balance when our nation’s forces are in harm’s way. Eternity dangles on the flimsy thread of life that can be snapped at any moment. This is why our military chaplains are so incredibly valuable. It also bespeaks the strategic significance of Christian military personnel who live Christlike lives in the worst of circumstances and can be used to lead souls to spiritual safety.

As we honor our dead, let’s also pray for the living who serve, that God would preserve their lives ... and souls.

Ken Horn

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