Monday, May 31, 2021, was Memorial Day. It is an American holiday, declared a federal holiday in 1971. It is a day to remember and honor the men and women who died while serving in our military. Across the nation, people celebrate and recognize Memorial Day in various ways. Our nation commemorates the holiday with a service at Arlington National Cemetery and laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. President Joe Biden addressed the nation.  People visited cemeteries and held memorial services. There are parades and U.S. flags in yards, backyard barbeques, trips to the beach, shopping trips for Memorial Day sales, and some just at home watching sports. It is a holiday and a three-day weekend for many Americans.

Today is Tuesday, June 1, 2021. The day after Memorial Day. If we are honest with ourselves, for many of us, it is business as usual. Back to work and our daily activities. Back to enjoying the benefits of the freedoms we often take for granted. In no way is this meant to be a criticism. It shines the light on reality. It is a challenge in our thinking and actions that starts with me.

After Memorial Day and every day in between, we can demonstrate honor by considering the lives that continue beyond the cemeteries. Family members still grieve their loss. Children are growing up without their father or mother. There are men and women still weeping after losing a spouse. Parents longing for sons and daughters. They need our prayers and support.

I was a young military wife for seven years. We lived in Germany for almost four years. After returning home, a year later, my husband was deployed to Korea for 13 months. My young son and I remained in military housing until his return. I understand from experience some of the pressures and difficulties of military life. Active-duty service members and veterans need our prayers and support.

In what way can you encourage and support servicemen and servicewomen in your family, church, community, and circles of influence?  In what way can we use our hands and feet to show appreciation through our actions?

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy