The words came whisper quiet. His voice cracked with emotion and I held my breath so that I would not miss any details.
It was the story of a soldier who had served our country well. A canvas was drawn before my eyes, and as he spoke, the brushstrokes splashed across.
With deep love and deep sorrow, he was conveying the tight bonds between him and his buddies during WWII. It was almost unspeakable. These men were willing to sacrifice their very lives, laying it down, blood spilling and as the greatest type of love was displayed, an echo of Christ’s love.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13 NKJV
My heart broke in quiet awe. Had I really been so blinded to the gift given to me years before I drew breath ‘in the land of the free and the home of the brave’? I held it in my hands, stunned, looking it over for what seemed like the first time.
It’s easy as an American to let the costliness of our freedom slip through our minds so that it becomes a cliche concept, yet this vivid memory has left its mark upon me. I started wondering what it would be like not knowing what was the last second, last letter, or last goodbye to loved ones. Day upon day witnessing horror while striving to press on and cling to hope. Not just one person’s life had demonstrated such love, but thousand upon thousand had given it by spending their youth and passions and dreams.
There are still those serving overseas who sacrifice year(s) to keep us safe. They experience loneliness. Separation from family. Long hours. Missed birthdays. Strange surroundings. Danger.
Just let that reality sink in just a little bit…
They are heroes–mine and yours. American heroes who lay down their all. They lay down their dreams, offering up their beating heart and willing hands. They love us with the greatest love, too.
I’ve grappled with how to express gratitude freedom that comes from such sweet and sober sacrifice.
It’s simple, really.
Honor them as heroes. If you know someone serving in the military, just send them a quick note voicing thanks in a sincere way.
Don’t have regrets because I don’t know about you, friend, but I want to be an American whose heart never stops beating freedom–and never stops thanking those responsible for maintaining such a costly gift!