RONALD REGAN’S MEMORIAL DAY SPEECH AT ARLINGTON
Let’s honor our fallen heroes. In Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Memorial Day speech given at Arlington National Cemetery, the President says, “It’s the young who do the fighting and dying when a peace fails and a war begins.” He lists hero after hero, outlining through these examples why we give tribute to our fallen military men and women.
Reagan shares, “Not far from here is the statue of the three servicemen… Perhaps you’ve seen it—three rough boys walking together, looking ahead with a steady gaze… The three are touching each other, as if they’re supporting each other, helping each other on.” He is stirred by this artistic rendition of the three young men. These men typify the commitment and courage of the United States armed forces. Some have given their own lives to save the lives of our loved ones at home.
FALLEN HEROES OF THE BIBLE
What does the Bible say about celebrating fallen heroes? We don’t have to look far to see it is God’s intent that we recount their valiant accomplishments.
King David, for example, like Reagan, makes an accounting of his military men and their achievements. First, he names Adino the Ezinite who spears eight hundred enemies in one battle. He continues his honorarium. He names Shammah the Harite. This hero stands his ground in a barley field refusing to yield it to the Philistines (see 2 Samuel 23:8). David mentions other heroes along with their accomplishments.
This is only one biblical example where military heroes are recognized. There are many other places in the Bible where heroes are named and honored.
OUR BELOVED PRINCE OF PEACE
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.~John 10:10b NKJV
Jesus is “The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 KJV).” So then, why do we fight wars in the first place? President Regan answers this question towards the end of his speech. He said, “If we really care about peace, we must, through our strength, demonstrate our unwillingness to accept an ending of the peace. We must be strong enough to create peace where it does not exist and strong enough to accept an ending of the peace.
Sometimes peace needs to be enforced by military prowess. When godless people oppress our children, women, and elderly, we must call upon the courageous.
Our peace is not free. It is the gift of selfless heroes who look beyond their needs to secure ours.
A FITTING TRIBUTE
Our military robs the enemy of his assignment to destroy and secures life for us. It is fitting for us to honor our fallen American mighty men and women. They have paid the ultimate price to secure our freedom because their love is like our Lord’s. When Jesus faced death on Calvary’s cross to save humanity, He led the spiritual army and conquered the ultimate battle—and in the process, secured for us eternal life.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.~John 15:13 NKJV
TAKE TIME TO PAUSE AND PRAY
It is worthy of a national pause to thank God for the United States armed forces. They have followed in the footsteps of Commander Jesus by giving their lives to save ours.
Freedom is never free. It takes courageous men and women to make sure we remain the “land of the free; home of the brave.” Let’s celebrate our heroes and show them the honor they have earned.
Share ways you can celebrate our military friends who are willing to serve, no matter the cost.
Thank You, my Beloved Jesus, for our fallen heroes, for, like You, they have made the ultimate sacrifice. In so doing, they have kept America free. Thank You also for those who served or are currently serving. These are friends who are worth celebrating.
Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day and established as a national observance by General John A. Logan in May 1868.
Copyright © 2019, updated 2023: Fallen Heroes: Diane Virginia Cunio: All Rights Reserved