Memorial Day approaches. For any country who has suffered the loss of life among its citizenry, remembering their sacrifice is a sacred duty. For Americans, next Monday is far more than just a holiday or break in our routine. It is a day for remembering.

This Memorial Day, we recognize and honor those who have served our country and paid the ultimate sacrifice. This day will be more poignant with the tragic news of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers. They died, not in a combat operation, but in a relief mission for those in need after another earthquake hit the region.

Every life is precious. Those who risk their lives for their comrades and their countries deserve our respect and gratitude. The families and friends they leave behind deserve our prayerful support and tribute.

In a perfect world, we would need no military or police force. We have not solved humanity’s problems and ills through force of arms. Are there times when evil must be confronted? History answers with a resounding “yes.” But we yearn for the day when peace is not just the temporary cessation of hostilities. We pray for the day when the Prince of Peace will return. Perhaps it will be soon.

God does wrap Himself in the red, white, and blue, but perhaps not the way we might think. Take a look at the Christian flag. The red stands for the sacrifice of Christ for our ultimate freedom. The white stands for purity and peace. The blue represents the faithfulness of Jesus and the hope we have of heaven.

As I write this, I am looking at a picture of a 28 year-old US Army Warrant Officer, standing at parade rest. He served his country and risked his life. If, like so many, he had fallen while fighting Nazi Germany, many lives including my own would have been affected. I consider that when I think about those who have lost a loved one. As grateful as I am that my father returned safely, I cannot help but grieve over broken dreams and hearts … people who have not been as fortunate.

Whatever you do this Memorial Day, make sure you remember.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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