“…..It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
– President Abraham Lincoln, “The Gettysberg Address” November 19th 1863
Fresh burgers on the grill, hot dog in hand, meeting with loved ones and an extra day off from your weekly routine pretty much sums up Memorial Day for most Americans. However, to the veteran and to the families of fallen soldiers, Memorial Day is a day of reflection of the ultimate sacrifice that those before have laid down.
As a child I loved listening to those who served in WWII and Vietnam. Hearing their stories of bravery and heroism had such an impact on me. But looking into their eyes I saw sadness, loneliness, and pain. It seemed that joy and laughter were just masks to put on day to day.
When I think about the soldier who gave his life for another to enjoy freedom and liberty, I can’t help but see that their sacrifice follows the example of Jesus laying down His life for our freedom.
In 1 John 3:16 it says “ We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
Because we were sinners, God sent His redemption through Jesus Christ. The selfless sacrifice that paid for our spiritual freedom is something to marvel at. Jesus paid a debt that He did not owe for a person who could not pay. Going back to that verse, John tells us that we too should be willing to lay down our lives for those around us. Though we may not be asked to lay down our life we can give our love, kindness, and gratitude. That can be done in being a better husband, a better father, a better wife, a better mother, a better friend, a better child and a better child of God. The list of those who you can serve is not limited in any way.
Follow the example of Jesus and live a life of service, knowing that through His blood we have the ability to be made whole again.
So when we see our service men and women what can we do to honor their memory? How can we remember their sacrifice? I believe that we can honor them not by mourning, but by praising them for their service and remembering them with gratitude. America’s blueprint was written in their blood and we should thank them and honor them as much as we can.
The cost of freedom, my fellow Americans, is great. Today, may we all remember the price.