It was great to see the patriotism of the youth and teaching staff and families as we walked the Walk. My own granddaughter spent some time on a poster she carried which listed family members who have served their country in the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Marine Corps. This day has been linked to other days in our country’s history. We are asked to forever “remember the day that lived in infamy” (Pearl Harbor Day), Texans will “Remember the Alamo,” and Europeans remember “the day the Berlin Wall Came Down.” They all have a special link to family and national concern because they link with painful moments.
Religiously, it is also linked to a verse from Exodus 12:14 “This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.” The observance called for was to celebrate the Passover, a day to remember how the angel of death “passed over” the homes of the Israelites in Egypt and led to their freedom from oppression.
There are three things in this verse: Remembrance, festival, and perpetual ordinance. It is a time of remembrance, not a national holiday that we work on or get off for. It is a remembrance, a reflection of where we have come from and where we will go “with God’s help and grace.” It is a remembrance to “slow down, reflect, and ponder.” The religious word is to “meditate” on.
It is a festival and should include some time to celebrate the goodness of God. When we think of other days of remembrance they are not often linked to goodness but remembrance of an evil event. So we often soften the evil with a good remembrance. This happens most clearly when we are mourning the loss of someone who has died that we love so much. The celebration is one of the memories of that one who has been taken away from us. We sit and remember the good times and birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and our favorite times with them. I call it “honoring the memory and marking the passing.”
It is a perpetual ordinance. There are some who would like to make 9/11 a national holiday as a perpetual reminder. In the absence of that we make it a day to celebrate and remember each year. Why do we make certain events a lasting event? Because we need to! I remember my mother’s birthday every spring and she would now be 105 if she were still alive. I remember the birthday of one of my grandmothers because it is near to Columbus Day. I remembered 9/11 with my granddaughter.
And all of this was honoring Exodus 12:14, the gift of God for our lives.