Well this is the last night we will be in Europe and tomorrow we fly home. By the time you read this we will be somewhere over the Atlantic headed west. It has been an incredible trip. In the days to come I will continue to introduce you to some of the things we saw and some of the wonderful people that we met.
Let me close this last session from Europe by taking you on a trip that I made several years ago. Many of you will have never visited the memorial to the officers and men who gave their lives at Pearl Harbor. On two different occasions I have been privileged to stand on the memorial that is positioned above the U.S.S. Arizona in honor of the 1,177 men who gave their lives on December 7, 1941. It is hallowed ground on which I am always moved to tears. Today I had a similar experience when I visited Bastogne the site of the Battle of the Bulge and a place where the American forces suffered 89,000 casualties including 19,000 killed over a six-week period in December 1944 and January 1945.
What strikes me is the similarities between these two monuments and a verse of scripture found in Jeremiah 2:32 where we read…
“Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number. ”
Men paid an incredibly high price that you and I might be free. Had you or I been either at Pearl Harbor or at Bastogne I doubt that we could ever forget the price that victory and freedom demanded during those days. And yet we forget. In fact, our nature demands that we return to carefree days as soon as possible. Something happens after enough time has gone by. We lose sight of the things that really matter.
We do the same thing with the Lord. We forget his sacrifice, days without number. The verse in Jeremiah uses the picture of an approaching wedding as something greatly anticipated, something no one could forget. That’s how we are to remember and look forward to our bridegroom, with baited breath, unending anticipation, and racing hearts. Just like my visit to these military monuments, we should have tears in our eyes and pride and honor in our hearts as we remember the sacrifice made so that all of humanity could know victory and freedom.
Let’s do our best to never forget!
See you soon.