Wreaths At Arlington

It was quite cold as my oldest daughter, her friend, and myself met with our IMA Chaplain and one of our chaplain assistants and his girlfriend to join in the annual wreath laying at Arlington. This year the number of wreathes was doubled to 10,000. There was a huge crowd of folks. I would guess there were 3 to 5 thousand people here. We took a wreath a piece and found gravesites to lay the wreath. The girls laid their wreaths on soldiers who fought in the Spanish American war. I laid my wreath on the grave of a sailor who fought in World War I.

I buried an airman who retired from the Air Force after many years of service. He started his service in WWII in the Army Air Corp where he flew 7 missions against the Ploesti Oil Fields in Romania which were the main source of petroleum products for the Nazi war machine. Casualties were very high. At one point so many plains in his squadron were shot down, that his plane became the lead plane.

I am especially moved by those services where the families share my hope in resurrection through what Christ accomplished for us at the cross. Each family grieves the loss of their loved ones, but St. Paul is so right when he says that those who have faith do not grieve as others do. You can see the hope in their eyes when the traditional passages of Scripture promise are read. Christmas is especially moving as it is very much in remembrance that the Savior came to this world to defeat sin and death. Even as the holiday season expands due to various cultural and social influences to include non-Christian traditions, it will always be the birth of Jesus that is the source for why their is a Christmas celebration. And death, the biggest problem of them all still finds its only solution in the promised salvation and resurrection that is God's gift to us through faith in Jesus Christ. My favorite services are those where I not only honor the memory and sacrifice of military service made by the deceased, but where I also proclaim and celebrate with the family our shared hope in Jesus.