Yesterday was Memorial Day in the United States. Memorial Day is a day set aside to commemorate those veterans who have died in the service of the country. It was first enacted to honor those in the Union Army who died in
the American Civil War. After the first World War, it was expanded to include American casualties of any war or military action.
Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an
American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.
I am aware that Nigeria celebrates her fallen heroes on the 15th of January every year with the Armed Forces Day. We definitely don’t give a national holiday for that. Perhaps with a retired General as president, things might change.
I got to read some posts on some blogs I follow about the American celebration of fallen veterans and casualties of war and it got me thinking especially as I read the story of the Hebrew monarch, King Jehoram, about whom the scripture unapologetically says:
About two years later, Jehoram died in terrible pain. No bonfire was built to honor him, even though the people had done this for his ancestors.
Jehoram was 32 years old when he became king, and he ruled 8 years from Jerusalem. He died, and no one even felt sad. He was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs. (2 Chronicles 21:19-20 CEV)
I began to ponder on this: How can I live my life in such a way that my death will not be good riddance? What does it take to live a life of impact, the memory of which brings tears of joy for a life lived to the fullest? What kind of life must I live to be remembered?
This was my conclusion: it has to be a life lived for a purpose greater than one’s self in full maximization of one’s potential and in selfless service to others with courage and gallantry.
This week, I want to ask you to take some time to consider more deeply what you would like to be remembered for. A national holiday may not be declared in your honour. Your next door neighbour, the conductor of the BRT bus you board to work every day, the young children you teach in school; what will these people or whoever it is you interact with on a daily basis remember you for? Will you be remembered for your commitment to leaving the world better than you met it? Will you be remembered as an agent of reconciliation and an apostle of societal transformation?
I leave you with the words of Shannon L. Alder;
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”