As Christians we have a certain ambivalence to war, which causes us some confusion when we think about Memorial Day.
The Bible promotes patience, gentleness, kindness, self-control and (in fact) peace; but the images of warfare are frequent. Indeed the picture of Christ at the end of time is a picture of a warrior king:
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
Revelation 19:11-16 (ESV).
We honor our veterans not because violence is praiseworthy in itself, but because in our fallen world violence is sometimes necessary and always involves great individual sacrifices.
Thank you for your service.