Poppies & Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Discussion

How God Uses Nations

Another Memorial Day is upon us—a wonderful time to remember those who sacrificed to preserve our freedom, and to reflect upon all who have passed a spiritual legacy forward to us and blessed us—even in our own families.

During this patriotic season, it is also important to consider how God uses nations, and to meditate on the place that our nation occupies within the spectrum of Biblical teaching regarding the Lord’s dealings with the people groups of this world.

Discussion

Honoring the Faithful

Memorial Day is always a wonderful time to reflect on the “good inheritance”1 (Ps. 16:6) that we enjoy as Americans, as Christians, and within our individual families. We honor those who have given of themselves—especially those who have given their very lives—for our country, and we also remember all of those who have preceded us in our family histories.

Discussion

When Heroes Abounded

I have always loved Memorial Day. In fact, I celebrate it every Saturday night.

My ritual for the end of the week—normally as I am preparing to speak the next day on Sunday morning—involves watching Combat!, “TV’s longest-running World War II drama.”1 When I am at home—or even in a hotel, if I can find it—I watch another adventure featuring the boys from the Company K, Second Platoon right before going to bed.

Discussion

Memorial Day Reflections, 2018

Body

“The official etiquette is that the flag is quickly raised to the top of the staff, then slowly lowered to half-mast. What looks like half-mast is really mast-and-a-half. Just as those who died in military service gave beyond the normal measure, so we honor their memory by raising our flag beyond its normal measure.” CV&V

Discussion

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet, Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law!

Discussion

General Orders No.11, Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868

Headquarters Grand Army of the Republic

General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

Discussion