May 24, 2019
A lot of things have changed in America over the last several years, and how we treat Memorial Day is one of them. I remember as a kid all of the parades and veterans -- and how we stood and honored the flag. Fast-forward a generation and suddenly, people don’t just miss the significance of the holiday – they miss its entire meaning!
According to a shocking new Harris Poll, only 55 percent of this country can explain the purpose behind Memorial Day is to honor the fallen from our nation’s wars. If you want to know why that’s significant, look at millennials, FRC’s Lt. General Jerry Boykin says. Half of them aren’t proud to be Americans, a recent survey shows. “Now, if you stop and think about it, what Memorial Day is all about is honoring those that gave the last full measure, honoring those who died fighting for this country. If young adults really knew what a sacrifice that has been made by those men and women that have stepped up and said, ‘Here am I -- send me’ by giving their lives in service to this country, they would certainly have more pride.”
We can talk about what’s not happening in our schools. We can talk about what’s not happening in our culture. But maybe we should be talking about what should be happening in our homes as parents and grandparents. What are some ways, I asked General Boykin, that some ways that that we can honor America with our kids?
“First of all, how you treat the American flag says a lot to those that are observing you. I have a big flagpole in my yard and you’ve seen it. But I want my children and my grandchildren, especially, to see me handle the flag – with reverence. I want them to understand that flag is more than a piece of cloth that not only represents an incredible history with a lot of sacrifice, but also hope for the future. Hope for the world.”
The other thing we have to do is encourage our children to read history by making it fun for them and getting them into programs that encourage it. For more than 230 years, men and women have given their lives to a cause greater than themselves. When we lost sight of what that cause is, there’s no reason to make such a costly sacrifice.
A lot of schools have stopped teaching history – and that’s very deliberate. One of the most poignant statements in George Orwell’s 1984 is that he who controls the present controls the past-- and who controls the past controls the future. And there’s no greater illustration of that than what’s happening in our schools today, as secularists try to destroy this idea of American exceptionalism, because they know that exceptionalism is rooting in a biblical Christian foundation.
The message of our roots is important -- and as an Americans, we need to be able to identify with the history and sacrifice that went into building this country. This weekend, the best gift we can give to a family who’s lost a hero in uniform is that you’ll cherish what they died for. Let’s pray more people take that to heart this weekend as we honor and give thanks for the brave men and women who made this country possible.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.