There's a line by the Roman poet Horace made particularly famous in a different poem by Wilfred Owen: "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." Roughly translated, it means, "Sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country." As we observe Memorial Day, we will hear this sentiment, if not this exact phrase, repeated often. We will celebrate those who have paid the ultimate price, made the greatest display of love possible, and laid down their lives for their friends (John 15:13). It is good to remember them, to honor their service.
With that said, it is also good to long for the day when we won't learn war anymore (Isaiah 2:4). We live in a vale of tears, as the saying goes, where war, violence, and death are all too commonplace. Rarely do we bat an eye when the news tells us of new fighting somewhere around the world. We've just sort of accepted war as a way of life for this fallen world. To an extent, that's true. I doubt we will ever truly know world peace until Christ comes to reign as eternal King over a new heaven and new earth. But that doesn't stop the longing, the desire to see a world at rest.
Let us strive to be peacemakers, even if that requires the use of force. Let us never forget the sacrifice of those who came before us to keep the world safe from those who would seek to destroy it (and us). Thank God for the bravery of men and women who continue to serve their country and who are willing to lay down their lives for us. Take time to remember them this weekend. After all, this isn't "Barbecue Day"; it's Memorial Day. Remember them.