On Monday, May 26, I was privileged and honored to give the Memorial Day speech.
Below is the opening and closing prayer along with the speech.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Today, we gather beneath the Stars and Stripes-the emblem of freedom and glory to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice; but we also stand beneath the cross of Christ that gives us a freedom that is beyond the bounds of this world. Therefore, we pray, Almighty Lord that You will bless this nation and all of those who have gathered here today. Guide and guard her from foreign and domestic enemies. Protect our brave men and women who are serving us all across the globe so that we can enjoy and cherish the freedom we have.
In the name of Christ our Lord, we pray. Amen.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE AFRAID.
All of us in this place have so many blessings that we don’t often think about how rich free of fear and even spoiled we are!
Daily we wake up without any fear. We get dressed and go to work without fear. We go to school and don’t even consider fear. When the weekend approaches, we go camping, boating, golfing or picnicking without fear. And on Sunday mornings all of us have the great privilege of being involved in attending our own denominational churches without having to be afraid of being harassed, burned, shot, maimed or killed.
You don’t have to be afraid because in the history of this great nation, there have always been sentries on duty to make sure you and I can enjoy the liberty and freedom we have. You don’t have to be afraid to go sleep because you know no one is going to come and take your home or freedom away, thanks to those who stand guard and protect this land. For over 238 years Old Glory has soared over the nation to tell the world this is the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave on account of the men and women who fought and died for this land.
However, our freedom and liberty is and has been under attack lately. We have witnessed recently Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who had been invited to give the commencement address at Rutgers University in New Jersey has been disinvited because of her involvement in the Iraq war during the Bush administration.
We saw it as the government attacked and sued Hobby Lobby because they didn’t agree with the Obamacare mandate to pay for abortions. We heard it in the court rooms of New Mexico when Christian photographer Elane, was ordered to photograph a wedding (gay couples) which violated her religious convictions. We have observed how the IRS has been used as an agent of attack to harm and harass political opponents. And just in the last couple of weeks we have seen and heard of the great scandal against our Veterans—who have been mistreated, lied to, dishonored and some even died as they waited for treatment.
Yes, we are under attack. There are many people who live here under the banner of freedom and liberty and enjoy these freedoms and privileges; yet desire to change the outlook of the USA. When people raise up the white flag of surrender instead of the Red, White and Blue our freedom and liberty is sold to the bullies and molesters of the freedom that has been purchased by the spilled blood and ultimate sacrifice of military personnel—the brave men and women.
But you and I, as free citizens need not be afraid. We can stand together. We can tell the Administration of the great words of Abraham Lincoln who in his Gettysburg address said: “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”
We don’t have to be afraid to stand up for freedom sake. We don’t have to be afraid from any bully domestic or foreign who attack us. We don’t have to be afraid from anyone, because as free people we tell the world about those who sleep in trenches, who eat cold meals, who are in the heat of the sun, the cold of night, in the mountain, in the sea or in the desert; are there to defend our freedom. We have freedom purchased by the blood of martyrs and the dedication of the Military personnel. Our freedom is not free—it has been paid by the life and shed blood of the American Soldier.
Toby Keith, a country music singer, wrote one of the most moving songs in tribute to these brave volunteers—the men and women of our Armed Forces called, “American Soldier” Here are the lyrics of this song:
I'm just trying to be a father
Raise a daughter and a son
Be a lover to their mother
Everything to everyone
Up and at 'em, bright and early
I'm all business in my suit
Yeah, I'm dressed up for success
From my head down to my boots
I don't do it for the money
There's bills that I can't pay
I don't do it for the glory
I just do it anyway
Providing for our future's my responsibility
Yeah I'm real good under pressure
Being all that I can be
And I can't call in sick on Mondays
When the weekends been too strong
I just work straight through the holidays
And sometimes all night long
You can bet that I stand ready when the wolf growls at the door
Hey, I'm solid, hey I'm steady, hey, I'm true down to the core
And I will always do my duty no matter what the price
I've counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice
Oh, and I don't want to die for you
But if dyin's asked of me
I'll bear that cross with honor
'Cause freedom don't come free
I'm an American soldier, an American
Beside my brothers and my sisters I will proudly take a stand
When Liberty's in jeopardy, I will always do what's right
I'm out here on the front line
Sleep in peace tonight
American soldier, I'm an American soldier. PAUSE.
FREE PEOPLE OF THESE UNITED STATES, we don’t have to be afraid from any administration because we are a government of the people, by the people, for the people. And these people have power when they join hands together and work for the betterment of the community and society. We can give of our service, silver and sacrifice for the greater cause—it is not about us; but about living in this great Land of ours.
Today, as we gather beneath the Red, White and Blue, I implore you to lift your eyes high above the sky, (encourage them to look up) see the symbol of freedom flying and KNOW we don’t have to be afraid.
Yes, we don’t have to be afraid. As we stand today together in this cemetery to remember and honor the memories of those who gave their lives, we thank them and their families for their sacrifice.
But above all, let us thank the Lord, Jesus Christ the King of the Universe, who chose to leave the beauty and glory of heaven and come down to our polluted earth and live in the ditches for us. Behold this King of kings and Lord of lords coming to serve us as our Slave. A slave, who was tried, tortured, tormented and hung on a Tree to win our freedom. This King, who has won our freedom, also sustains our great military leaders, men and women. He sustains them through His Word and blessed Sacraments. He protects them with His mighty, caring, powerful and pierced hands. He upholds them in the hour of need and fills their hearts with peace even in the battle field.
Today, with great joy and the liberty and freedom we have on account of the shed blood of Christ, we live, eat, play, work and sleep beneath the bloodied cross of Christ without fear. Today, we lift our voices heavenward and thank Him for what He has accomplished—winning our Eternal FREEDOM and has given us life forever with Him.
Thanks be to God, that we the people of these USA DON’T HAVE TO BE AFRAID.
God bless the USA and its men and women who serve her.
In the name of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who won our freedom through His death and resurrection; in the name of the Father who sent His ONLY Son, Jesus to fight our arch enemies-satan, sin and death and gave us this freedom; in the name of the Holy Spirit who teaches us in His Word that in Christ we have eternal freedom and live joyfully forever with Him; may your day, week, year and life be forever blessed. Amen.