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Memorial Day 2015: Bible Verses, Meaning, History, Traditions and Celebrations

( [email protected] ) May 23, 2015 12:18 PM EDT
This Memorial Day, honor those who gave their lives defending freedom and reflect on these wonderful Memorial Day Bible verses, quotes and prayers.
At Arlington National Cemetery, Sgt. Brian Scott, 30, with the 18th Military Police Brigade, visits the grave of his friend. AP Photo

This weekend, citizens across the United States will celebrate Memorial Day. Unlike Veteran's Day, which commemorates the service of all U.S. military veterans, Memorial Day honors the men and women who have died in wars to protect American liberty or in service to their country.

Memorial Day, which finds its roots in the American Civil War era, is celebrated on the last Monday in May, and usually marks the beginning of summer. Originally called "Decoration Day," Memorial Day was first observed to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War by proclamation of Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former Union sailors and soldiers. In 1873, it developed into a holiday which honors all men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Americans have historically celebrated this occasion by placing American flags or flowers on the gravesites of loved ones and those buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Traditionally, the President or Vice President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. About 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually. American flags are to be set at half-staff on this day until noon to symbolize mourning for those who have died serving our country, and are later raised to full-staff to remind Americans to continue the fight to uphold the freedoms that we have been given. Many cities also celebrate those who have served our country with parades, barbeques, and other events.

On this special day, we honor those who lost their lives so that we could enjoy life, peace, justice, and the freedom to enjoy the blessings given us by God. For Christians, the day also serves as a vivid reminder of the ultimate sacrifice that was paid for our spiritual freedom- that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, willingly bore our sins on the cross so that all who believe in Him might be reconciled to Him and have eternal life.

This weekend, reflect on these Memorial Day Bible verses, quotes and prayers to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

 Memorial Day is a representation of the love of Christ

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."- John 15:13

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him" -John 3:16-17

This Memorial Day, honor those who sacrificed their lives

"Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor." Romans 13:7

This Memorial Day, we remember the courage of our nation's military

"Be on your guard: stand firm in the faith: be men of courage: be strong." - 1 Corinthians 16:13

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you." - Joshua 1:9

"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." -Psalm 23:4

" Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus." -Timothy 2:3

This Memorial Day, we mourn those who have died

"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, And saves those who are crushed in spirit."- Psalm 34:18

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -Isaiah 41:10

Because of Christ's sacrifice, we can find comfort in the hope of eternal life

"God will wipe away every tear! and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." - Revelation 21:4

"Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."- John 14:1-3

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." - John 14:27

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus."- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Memorial Day Quotes

"There is no greater sacrifice than giving one's life for their country. Memorial Day allows us to remember our fallen heroes, our loved ones who served and to pay our respects to the many who paid the ultimate price. God Bless each and every one of them." ~ unknown

"Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours." ~Wallace Bruce

"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." ~ Joseph Campbell

"When we make God our King and advance his Kingdom in our nation, we serve both our Lord and our country" (Matthew 6:33). 

"Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened."~ Billy Graham

"They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation." ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Memorial Day Prayers

"Dear Heavenly Father,

As we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy every day, we think of how they have followed in the footsteps of your son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Please hold our servicemen and women in your strong arms. Cover them with your sheltering grace and your presence as they stand in the gap for our protection.

We also remember the families of our troops. We ask for your unique blessings to fill their homes, and we pray your peace, provision, and strength will fill their lives.

May the members of our armed forces be supplied with courage to face each day and may they trust in the Lord's mighty power to accomplish each task. Let our military brothers and sisters feel our love and support.

In the name of Jesus. Amen"

"We show our thankfulness in prayer

This honor you deserve

Giving all for freedom's call

That we may live without reserve.

Lord, protect us each and everyone

Inspire us to peaceful be

On this planet we call home

For all the world's our family."