Saturday, May 26, 2012

In Honored Glory

"Here rests, in honored Glory,
an American Soldier,
Known only to God"

Architecturally, it is a simple sarcophagus, crafted in white Vermont marble to stand atop a Virginia hill overlooking the Potomac River and Washington, DC.  It is also a place of special reverence to those who served in time of war and to their families. The words, graven deep into the marble say it all "Here rests, in honored glory, an American Soldier, known only to God."  

We know nothing about this soldier, not his name, his age or his background.  We know not whether he came from the country, a small town, or a teeming city.  We can't identify the unit he served with, whether he was married, single, or had a sweetheart.  And we know nothing of how his family mourned him when they heard he was lost and not coming home.  

We know only that he was an American who enlisted and served and whose life ended in battle somewhere in France during what was then called the Great War.

We know not if he was of great courage or a coward, but he has been awarded the Medal of Honor and  the highest military decorations of our allies for his actions.

"Here rests in honored glory, an American Soldier."  In a sense, he stands for all the American soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, known and unknown, who gave their lives serving this nation.   

The resting places of many are well-marked by stones in countless church yards and national cemeteries.  The resting places of others are overgrown and forgotten by all except their Maker.  Some rest in the deeps of the ocean, and others amid a pile of scattered wreckage deep in the jungles of New Guinea or southeast Asia or any number of remote and often desolate places around the globe. 

The names of many have disappeared from the memories of men, but all rest in honored glory, and all are known to God.

Veterans' Day is a time to commemorate the living;  Memorial Day is a time remember and give thanks for the sacrifice of those who gave their country the last full measure of devotion.

How will you spend your Memorial Day?

How will you honor those who now rest in honored glory?