This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. It is a day to remember the men and women who gave, as President Lincoln so eloquently stated in the Gettysburg Address, “the last full measure of devotion.”
Lincoln’s speech, though just a few paragraphs long, is indelibly etched in the minds of our countrymen. If you have never read the entire thing, I urge you to do so. It is truly powerful—and one of the most inspiring speeches I have ever read.
As we contemplate Lincoln’s words, we can see that they are as true today as they were in 1863. Though we may not be engaged in an outright civil war, we do fear whether our country can continue to endure the difficulties we currently face, for they are many.
We see violence in the streets and violence against preborn babies. We see increased funding for assisted suicide for the sick and elderly and the desire for a decrease in funding of the organizations that should keep our citizens safe. We see increased government funding of organizations that profit off of the death of tiny babies. We see the sale of these tiny babies for research. We see a man in charge of the country who feels that he can pick and choose which tenets of the Catholic faith he wants to follow. And we see people—even clergy!—teaching that this is okay!
But none of this is okay. It is all far from okay. Indeed, we are involved in a test of endurance. And we must all fight to make our country a better place.
Lincoln concludes his address with these words:
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
So, this Memorial Day, I have a two-fold mission for you. Pray for the men and women who lost their lives serving this great country of ours. Pray for their families. Thank someone who is currently serving, or who has served, in the armed forces. Show those in the military—and their families—that you respect and appreciate their service. You would not have the freedoms you have today if they had not put their lives on the line for you.
And then think of all those who have lost their lives, not in service to our country, but to fear, to coercion, to selfishness, or to just plain ignorance of science and the sanctity of life. Apply Lincoln’s words to our pro-life work. Understand that we have a great task looming before us—that of protecting the vulnerable. Bow down before Christ and tell Him you will do His work here on earth.
That is what building a culture of life entails—protecting those who cannot protect themselves.
Our servicemen and women protect those of us who cannot fight the battles they do. And we fight the battles that the sick, the preborn, the disabled, and the elderly cannot fight.
We all have a role to play, as we all are tasked with caring for others.
As the Lord said in Isaiah: “Cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.”
So, this weekend, let us honor those who stand for our freedoms, for our republic, and for the sanctity of life. And as we honor those in the military who stand for us, let us never forget to stand for them and for the flag of this great country. We stand for them just as we kneel for Christ.