In the World War II-based movie “Saving Private Ryan,” three brothers are killed in action while a sole surviving brother remains serving in combat in Europe. After their mother receives three grim telegrams on the same day, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff orders a small military squad to specifically find the remaining son and bring him safely home.
The movie’s graphic depiction of the invasion at Normandy is brutal to watch. Still, this movie always hits home for another reason in our household. My husband’s father and all four of his uncles served in combat in WWII. It always makes me wonder how my husband’s grandmother handled not knowing where her five sons were for two years as they fought in different theaters of the war. Gratefully, all five Bard men returned home. Other families were not so fortunate.
Today is Memorial Day, declared a U.S. federal holiday over 50 years ago, to honor service members who died in military service to our nation. Today, we remember and honor their sacrifice. The United States has lost men and women in every war and operation. That includes World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, the Persian Gulf War (Desert Shield and Desert Storm), Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Inherent Resolve, and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
War can be controversial, but controversy has no place in this day. Today is a day for unity—setting aside division and uniting to remember and honor the sacrifice of every man and woman lost during military service.
Consider this: We remain free from tyranny and dictatorship and enjoy freedom because these men and women gave the ultimate sacrifice defending the United States of America and protecting the democratic principles Americans hold so dear. When we recognize the true meaning of Memorial Day, we reveal our gratitude to the mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles who have lost their family members for a purpose greater than their own. A purpose that benefits all of us.
As believers, their sacrifice maintains our freedom to worship God, boldly proclaim the name of Jesus Christ, read the Bible, and openly share the Good News. And as believers, we enjoy the ultimate freedom: Freedom from the price of our sins, bought by the blood of Jesus Christ, who gave the ultimate gift—His life as payment for our sins.
Freedom: There’s always a cost.
Today may our hearts be filled with thanksgiving and our actions reveal gratitude as we remember and honor the thousands of men and women who have lost their lives in service to our country.
Today and every day, may we remember and honor our Savior who secured our eternal freedom.