November 11, 2014 is a special day as we honor the men and women that have served or are presently serving in the armed forces of the United States. Today there will be parades, picnics, parties and celebrations to honor these worthy heroes. Quite frankly, though, one day of recognition is not enough to demonstrate the debt of gratitude we owe. Here are a few random thoughts…
1. Freedom is very costly
It is often stated that ‘freedom is not free.” I cannot think of a more true statement. On a daily basis we enjoy freedom, but we often forget the price that was paid so that we can experience such liberty. Historians tell us that more than one million Americans have given their lives in service for our country, and another 1.5 million plus have been wounded.* What a sacrifice! That is one million lives that were cut short. That is a million families that made the ultimate sacrifice. That is 1.5 million individuals whose lives were dramatically affected. Each of those soldiers and families would agree that freedom is very costly.
2. A few serve for the many
As an 18-year old young man I remember registering for the draft. Although the Armed Forces had already transitioned to a volunteer force, I was still terrified. I was confident that somehow it would all change, I would get drafted and die on a foreign battlefield. Thankfully, that did not happen. I was not compelled to serve, nor has anyone else since 1973. Our Armed Forces are filled with individuals who volunteer to serve their country
Counting both active military and military reserves, there are more than 3,000,000 men and women that are presently serving. That is only 1% of our total population. How cool to think that the 1% fights for and protects the 99%. Those numbers should only motivate us to be even more grateful for the small percentage of men and women that actually serve.
3. We take freedom for granted
It is so easy for us who have never had freedom taken from us to take it for granted. We have come to expect it. We cannot imagine life without it. Let us remember, though, that there are people and nations all around the world that have NEVER experienced the freedom that we possess. Here are a few of the freedoms that we possess…
- We have the freedom to vote.
- We have the freedom to speak our conscience.
- We have the freedom to make our own decisions.
- We have the freedom to worship according to our convictions.
- We have the freedom to own a Bible, read a Bible and share its truth with others.
- We have the freedom to raise our children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.
WOW! What freedom. All of these liberties exist today because of the men and women that have fought for and protect them. Let’s not take their service and their sacrifice for granted!
4. Our ultimate freedom is found in Jesus Christ
We cannot accurately speak of freedom and sacrifice without mentioning what Jesus Christ did for us. Jesus, the ultimate soldier, went to battle with Satan, sin and death. Yes, He paid the highest price by giving His life as a ransom for ours. Yet, today we do not memorialize a dead Soldier. No, we celebrate a risen Savior.
In Galatians Paul said, “Stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has set us free.” So today on this Veteran’s day we celebrate our heavenly Veteran who gave us the ultimate victory. Through Him we experience true freedom!