North Anderson Baptist Church
Memorial Day, Remembering the Heroes
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  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Sunday 10:30 AM

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There is a lot of history behind Memorial Day. Originally called Decorations Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic (Union Army), an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers.
By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.
Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving their country.
There are times that we forget those who have given their all for their country. But not here and not now! Today we are remembering and will continue to remember, even though tomorrow is the legal national holiday, primarily to give the country another three day holiday and really not for the honoring of the dead. If fact, the American Legion has had congressmen who have championed the idea that the date go back to the 30th of May where people will truly honor those who have died for their country.
There are all kinds of heroes today, but those that man call heroes are not of this category we are going to look at today. We want to pay tribute to the American soldier who has given their lives in service for their country even as far back as the Civil War and I would like to extend it to even those who fought for our freedom in the Revolutionary War.
We also will talk about those heroes from Scripture that God lists in Hebrews 11 and then see the great men and women in the New Testament who gave their lives for Christ, but no one greater than our blessed Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We will look at heroes of yours and mine, men and women of faith, as well. And finally we will will note that God calls us to be spiritual heroes too, just like those who have gone before us.
Today we want to Remember Our Fallen Nation’s Heroes!
1. Remember our Nation’s Heroes

“What is a hero? Most heroes are ordinary people but they accomplish extraordinary things. Heroes don’t sit and watch, they get up and do. They do the right thing even when no one else does. Heroes do the right thing even if it costs them greatly. Heroes do the right thing without thought of reward. Heroes don’t see themselves as heroes.” (Perry Hancock)

When I think heroes of our country, I go back to the men and women who gave their lives for the establishment of freedom. Men like Nathan Hale and so many others who died seeking freedom from the tyranny of Britain. But since the days of the Civil War, when Decorations Day was established, we can recall that brother fought brother and many thousands died in this unfortunate war. From the beginning of this great nation we have had brave souls die for our freedom. There are heroes from every era in our nation’s history. Here is a story of one of our heroes of recent days and from a war that has gone way too long.

This is a compelling war-zone story of heroism of a U.S. soldier who gave his own life to save an Afghan girl from certain injury.
Sgt. Dennis Weichel, 29, died in Afghanistan recently as he lifted an Afghan girl who was in the path of a large military vehicle barreling down a road.
Weichel, a Rhode Island National Guardsman, was riding along in a convoy in Laghman Province in eastern Afghanistan when some children were spotted on the road ahead.

The children were picking up shell casings lying on the road. The casings are recycled for money in Afghanistan. Weichel and other soldiers in the convoy got out of their vehicles to get them out of the way of the heavy trucks in the convoy.
The children were moved out of the way, but an Afghan girl darted back onto the road to pick up some more casings that lay underneath a passing MRAP, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle. The huge armored trucks can weigh as much as 16 tons and are designed to protect the troops they carry from roadside bombs.

Weichel spotted the girl and quickly moved toward her to get her out of the way. He succeeded, but not before he was run over by the heavily armored truck. The girl was safe, but Weichel later died of his injuries. He had arrived in Afghanistan a few weeks ago and had been a member of the Rhode Island National Guard since 2001.

Lt. Col. Denis Riel, a spokesman for the Rhode Island National Guard, said Weichel embodied values that can't be taught. "I have heard nothing but incredible stuff about this kid, selfless beyond our core values that we live up to," Riel said. "As I hear more from family and others, he was the living embodiment of the Army's core values: courageous, selfless and loyal. All values we expect from our soldiers. We mourn all combat deaths, but this one is a significant loss."
All Veterans have not died for their country but all Veterans served their country and many have died. This poem is one you have heard before and it is the the heroes, alive and fallen, who have made freedom possible.
It is the Veteran
It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Veteran, who salutes the Flag,
It is the Veteran, who serves under the Flag,
To be buried by the flag,
So the protester can burn the flag.
Author: Anonymous

America needs more heroes, not to die but to serve with dignity to keep us safe and free.
2. Remember the Heroes of Faith From the Bible
Let’s read together Hebrews 12:1-2,
When we think about the “cloud of witnesses” we think of all the saints of God, and more, the author talked about in Hebrews 11. There we find the long list of “heroes of the Faith,” like Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We are told of the faith of so many more Old Testament saints including Moses and Rahab and then the author talks about all the unnamed ones who went through horrible suffering and even death to follow the Lord because of their faith. The writer of Hebrews basically is giving a roll call of the heroes of the faith. In the first and second verse the writer gives that definition of faith and tells us this is why the saints of old were commended. 1“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.” (Hebrews 1:1-2) In the last two verses of chapter 11 we read, 39 “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Each of these saints of old gave a testimony of their faith and were greatly commended for it, and yet none of them had ever seen their reward or the Lord Jesus. They were all given the promise, yet not completely fulfilled and we too who have believed God have so many great promises.
These OT saints accomplished all they did by faith without ever seeing the Lord Jesus, and the New Testament saints also sought to serve God by faith by living for the kingdom of God and it’s Maker. We also remember these NT saints, who knew and walked with the Savior, so many of them are the heroes of faith who paid with their lives. There were others who came later, they believed by faith yet did not see Jesus; they too were faithful to not only believe but to spread the message of Jesus at the expense of their own lives. Think of Peter and James and Matthew along with Paul, Timothy, Polycarp, Stephen and multitude more. You and I are here today because of their faith.
Who is greater than our Lord Jesus and suffered more? He is the one who came from heaven, from the glories of eternity to live a life of a mere man, poor, not a king or a rich man. He chose to live a life of of plainness, with sorrow and pain, so that you and I might have forgiveness of sin and eternal life. He paid the greatest price for our freedom and Jesus is the ultimate hero!
3. Remember the Heroes of Faith From Our Lives
Who would you name as heroes of faith? Who are those special people that you have gained great strength from and even today stand on their shoulders in your faith? Who are the ones who taught you of Jesus, who loved you in Christ and prayed for you or taught you about and showed you of God’s love and how to have faith in Him?
Who are my heroes of the faith? My sister, Lorees, who taught me that church was important and took me with her when I was a child, she has always been a hero of mine. In college, I had a Sunday School teacher by the name of Tom Fulton, who cared for me not only spiritually but physically like a father. As an adult I had a man who related to me from high school to, and in, my teaching career, he made a great difference in my life. His name is Foy Thompson. Remember and be thankful for your faith heroes, they will bring great joy and inspiration to your heart and life.
4. We are Called by God to be Heroes of Faith
We are all called by God to live our faith in such a way as to become heroes to others because of our faith. We are to run this race set before us, laying aside the sin and anything else, whether it is sin or not, nothing should keep us from running a faithful race for Christ. We are to keep our eyes on Him, who is that author and finisher of our faith. Who is looking up to you or will one day call you their hero of faith?
Paul tells us as strongly as he can to give ourselves to God fully and live for Him daily in worship not looking to the crowd around us but renewing our mind through the perfect Word of God. It is then we will be able to know His will for us as we venture out to be faithful heroes of the faith.

Today is the day we will celebrate our fallen heroes of our country, even though the real holiday is a few days away. We want to remember that the freedom we so desire and have, right now, has come at the death and sorrow of many a fighting man on the battlefield, sailor on board ship and others in multiple places in the service of our country. Some have died, others gravely wounded, and some of you have been spared to live your life free of tyranny and slavery only because of others who fought and died.

We want to remember our faith heroes, either Biblical or personal, that have made the difference in us and millions all over the world. We should not fail to mention and we could not pass up this opportunity to bless the name of Jesus for the spiritual freedom from sin He bought with His very own blood. Because of His sacrifice for you and me, we ought to give our lives in service to Him because of the call of God on our lives and because we are a part of His Kingdom as it goes forward seeking to liberate those in the bondage of sin through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Perry Hancock finishes his message with these words:
“So, live a Godly life. Put feet to your faith. Serve even if you’re the only one. Do what God leads you to do even if it doesn’t make sense. Do it even if it costs you everything. Do it without concern for reward. Do it without thinking that you’re a hero.” “Make that commitment today and we will watch as God does an incredible work through you.”
Let me finish the message by quoting the poem made famous during WWI by John McCrae as a memorial for all those who died on foreign fields, “In Flanders Fields.”

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.