Monday, May 25, 2015

In Memory

CPL Jaron Duvall Holliday, 21,
killed in Iraq August 4, 2007

1 Samuel 7:12, Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the Lord has helped us."


I woke up this morning and thought of Kelly Holliday. I thought of her son Jaron. I thought of the reason my own children were home from school today. Memorial Day. I had already seen several posts on Facebook saying Happy Memorial Day. And that struck me as a paradox.

Memorial Day isn't supposed to be like the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. It is a day set aside for us to remember the people who died while serving in America's armed forces. When I was teaching in children's ministry, we once did an activity on building an Ebenezer (I Samuel 7:12-14). We had stones that we wrote on ways God had helped us. We made a monument that when we passed that table we would remember. And when others passed that table, we could tell them how God helped us.

Today seemed like a perfect day to draw on that passage in 1 Samuel 7:12, Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the Lord has helped us." According to Dr. Gregory Neal, "Literally speaking, an Ebenezer is a "stone of help," or a reminder of God’s real, holy presence and divine aid. Spiritually and theologically speaking, an Ebenezer can be nearly anything that reminds us of God’s presence and help."

As I hopped on Facebook today I saw many images of American flags: some draped on coffins, others folded in a triangle for a grieving family, others waving solitary by a gravesite. It is our Ebenezer. When soldiers have paid the ultimate sacrifice, and left behind sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, may we never forget their service or their families.

The words of President Lincoln seemed as fitting today as they were so many years ago when he delivered his Gettysburg Address. “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

I am eternally grateful that I am an American. This is my country, my home. I am grateful for the ideals that we hold dear and pray that we continue to strive to see them lived out at home and abroad that these dead shall not have died in vain. Jaron and his friends fought for these ideals…and some gave all. May we never reduce their service or their sacrifice to a bumper sticker slogan. Let us never forget who they were, how they lived their lives, their families, their hopes, their dreams. Let us honor them and help their legacies to live on. We are in their debt. Support the Jaron D. Holliday Music Scholarship Fund. Read more at:


Please take time to share a story about someone you wish to honor who have served our country in the armed forces. Let it be our Ebenezer, that we never forget. Share your story by posting a comment below.