Memorial Day 2018 falls on May 28 this year. It is a day of remembrance for those who lost their lives serving in the United States armed forces. Often, we celebrate by gathering with friends and family and cooking out on the grill. But Memorial Day is a day when we should not forget about the brave men and women who gave their lives for our personal freedoms.
Have you ever walked through a national cemetery that honors soldiers of our past? The immaculate rows and pristine stones that fill the grounds are sobering. These are the sacred places where the bravest are laid to rest in peace. A place we are brought to humble thanksgiving for our liberties, and where those who fought for us will not be forgotten.
We visit their graves and leave stones, flags, flowers, or trinkets on their tombstones in memory of their character and to honor their sacrifice.
On Memorial Day, we mourn and remember as a nation. Our hearts go out to all who have served throughout our nation’s history, and most recently to the men and women who served our country in the Middle East—in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.
This year, Memorial Day 2018, let us remember their sacrifice like never before.
Let us come together as a community, as a nation, and as servants of God to create a living monument in their honor that signifies our gratitude, our progress, and our continued effort to cultivate peace, democracy, and ultimately… a better world.
Let us remember our soldiers and our American heritage.
This Memorial Day we have a special message for the world: We are eternally grateful for those who fought for us. And our friends and allies who are with us will never have to fight for freedom alone.
In Memoriam of Our Friends and Allies
One of our closest allies, Israel, has endured centuries of conflict and war in the Middle East, even before officially becoming a nation. The Israelis’ battles are not only overseas but only miles away from their borders. Terrorism, like the horrors we faced on September 11, 2001, finds its way across borders far more easily than it does the ocean.
For centuries, ever since the Jewish people were banished from their homeland, they faced persecution and expulsion wherever they went, forbidden to return to their homeland. But God made a promise to bring them back, and to restore what has become of Israel:
“For the Lord will comfort Zion… He will make her wilderness like Eden,
and her desert like the garden of the Lord…”
Countless Americans gave their lives to defeat the Nazis and liberate the Jews during WWII. Those refugees then fled Europe to help reclaim Israel, where countless Israeli soldiers have given their lives for the cause of creating a better world.
Now it’s our turn to help…
Our role is to help create the garden of the Lord. My Olive Tree has been planting olive trees in the Negev Desert to recreate that garden. And some of the most sacred groves of that garden are the memorial trees that honor the soldiers who gave their lives fighting for Israel’s freedom and to protect her borders.
The Bible foretold that this restoration would require the help of Gentiles to restore the homeland of the Jewish people, and there is no better way to pledge your commitment and to show your solidarity than by sponsoring an olive tree.
Sponsor an Olive Tree to Show Solidarity with Israel
In the Jewish faith, there are many ways to honor the fallen, because it is important to sustain the life and legacy of companions, family, and loved ones. Many synagogues feature Etz Chaim, or ‘the tree of life' in their lobbies with engravings on leaves that recognize the names of revered members, sponsors, and their respective families.
Your sponsorship creates a living Etz Chaim, and together we can create an entire grove of life in Israel’s lobby, the Negev Desert.
“She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
and happy are all who retain her.”
Sponsoring an olive tree in Israel in memory of a friend or family member is a revered custom that shows great appreciation. Olive trees are symbols of strength, wisdom, and life. The leaves, in particular, symbolize peace—which is why the emblem of Israel is a menorah (a symbol of miracles and light) surrounded by olive leaves, to symbolize the peace that everyone desires and sacrifices for.
The desert is hardly an ideal environment for an olive tree, but with a little nurturing, they thrive there, as humans do even in the face of hopelessness and despair.
It was thanks to a little nurturing—the kindness of neighbors who smuggled bread into the ghettos and hid Jewish refugees in their attics—that the Jewish people were able to overcome the Holocaust and rise to the occasion of creating Israel in the name of a better world.
A Little Nurturing Goes a Long Way
Today we are the neighbors who are called upon to help. Today we are nurturing more than just a garden of olive trees, but groves of peace. Our olive trees send a message to our enemies, as well as to our friends.
As we plant groves over tunnels once used by terrorists who coordinated attacks on Israeli citizens and soldiers, we are sending the message that we will bend to grieve for those who they have taken from us… but we will never break.
We will never lose sight of what we are always working toward under the guidance of God. We will ensure the prophecies come true. We will restore the desert and see it bloom. We will continue to strive for peace above all else.
Your sponsorship makes a difference. Every tree we plant retains more nutrients in the soil so that more can grow and thrive. Every tree we plant shows Israel the love and support they can always count on from us. And every tree we plant is a symbol that shows the world what honor and sacrifice truly mean: progress towards peace.
This Memorial Day, let us nurture our memorial into legacies. The price we’ve paid for peace has been too great to go unrecognized. Let us be thankful to those who have served and sacrificed, and to God, who has brought us together to take part in building this great garden for His people.
May the fallen rest in peace and contentment under the shade of these sacred trees… forever gifted in gratitude, humility, and love.