Soldiers and Sacrifice

I was sitting here this morning thinking about Memorial Day.
So many people see it as simply a day off of work, not giving any thought as to why they get the day off.

I didn’t grow up in a military household.
My father proudly served in the Army. He was drafted close to the end of the Vietnam War, and was stationed in Germany.
When the conflict was over, he came back to the States and his time in the Army isn’t something that he spoke much about.
I knew he served, and am incredibly proud of him, but I didn’t grow up with that lifestyle.
I’m sure you know what I mean when I say “that lifestyle” – constant moving from place to place, never being able to settle down, the military being the topic of most conversations around the house…or the wife and children who spend their days counting down until this deployment is over, hoping and praying their loved one makes it home safely. You get it.
That wasn’t my life.

For those of you who have lived that life, whether you are the mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, child, or the one who served, thank you.

I think the families often go unnoticed, but the ones who are left behind make a huge sacrifice as well.
Someone they love dearly is on the front lines fighting for the very thing most people around them take for granted.
They spend nights in tears wishing and longing and praying just to see them again.

For most, thankfully, their prayers are answered and they get to embrace their loved ones, and life goes on.
If you are in this category, praise the Lord for watching over your soldier and bringing them home safely to you!

But for some, those prayers are answered in a different way. They get the call or the letter that their loved one will not be coming home. They won’t get that embrace again. Their lives are changed forever. Life still goes on, but it’s a completely different life than the one they had before.
To all who may fall in this category, please know that the one you loved didn’t give up his life in vain. He or she is loved and appreciated for their ultimate sacrifice.

See, the thing is, when a man or woman enlists in the military, they don’t know in which of these two categories they will eventually find themselves.
They leave not knowing if they will ever return… and yet, they are still willing to go. Still willing to fight. Still willing to defend our freedom, even though it may cost them everything.

So, to all the American soldiers, past, present, and future: Thank you.
Thank you for spending this day away from the ones you love so I may spend it with ones I love.
Thank you for giving up your beds so that I may rest well in mine.
Thank you for putting the needs of strangers above your own.
Thank you for your bravery and honor and sacrifice.
Thank you.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

I know this is a popular quote among soldiers, and I love it, so I wanted to share this quote from Tecumseh.

“When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to love their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

To those of you who live your lives in this way, and to the families of those who have sung their death song and died a hero, again, thank you.

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