Memorial Day is a sacred time

Published 3:42 pm Saturday, May 28, 2016

By LARRY STOVER | Praise Park Church of the Nazarene 

Memorial Day weekend is a very special time for families everywhere. It is a time of reflection and thanksgiving.

This holiday, unlike others, reminds me of what so many have done for me in my life. It also challenges me to learn from the past and project dreams and goals for a future that explodes with opportunity for those who will “dare to dream big.”

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My family has been involved in defending this country since its beginning.

Research has shown that we have served in virtually every major conflict since the Revolutionary War.

Far too many Americans have forgot about the price of freedom. We have turned military issues into arenas of political football. While politicians in Washington argue over the political consequences, our men and women in service continue to die as though it is just another video game.

My mother talks about her childhood home in West Virginia. She could stand on the front porch and see the homes of seven childhood friends who died during World War Two. War is real! Death is real! Freedom is not cheap!

When was the last time you thanked a person in uniform for their service to our country?

Memorial Day reminds me of the rich heritage I have. I do not take for granted the price family members paid over the past 150 years so I could be where I am today.

A large number of my family worked in the coal mines of Virginia and West Virginia. Before the arrival of the UMW, conditions were deplorable. Family members died from explosions and cave-ins. Others contracted “black lung” disease and died an early death.

For generations they kept working in search of the “American Dream.” Things have changed greatly over the past 100 years and I thank God for the determination they possessed to provide a better life for their offspring.

A part of my celebration this weekend will be the observance of the “Lord’s Supper” today. As a Christian I can never forget the fact that God loves us so much that he sent his son to die for our sins.

The most important decision ever made in the Stover household took place 80-90 years ago when my grandparents made the decision to accept Jesus Christ into their lives and make him the central focus of their home. Five generations later the impact of that decision continues to impact thousands of lives. I have been sharing a lot about my heritage with graduates this month.

My theme to those in attendance has been, “It’s not about where you’ve been, it’s about where you’re going.” Where we are today is partly the end result of our forefathers who gave their lives and others who made decisions to make a better future for all of us.

Thanks to those who have gone before me, my life is “Simply Beautiful.”