MEMORIAL DAY-THE HIGH PRICE OF FREEDOM

(Cemetery for US soldiers Manila, Philippines)

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     This article is dedicated to the memory of all those military personnel who died while serving in the US Armed Forces. It is so easy to just relax and enjoy “another holiday” without taking time to reflect upon the significance of the day itself. This Memorial Day let us remember and honor the military who died in service to this country.

A time of RemembranceMEMORIAL DAY in the USA is a time to remember those who gave the supreme sacrifice for our freedom. It is estimated that over 1,300,000 military personnel have died on behalf of the United States of America since its inception. 1,300,000 people may not sound like very many compared to the total US population of 300,000,000 plus people. 

     However, every single person who died was a HUGE LOSS to the loved ones that were left behind. Moreover, their death was a HUGE GIFT to every US citizen.

Freedom is very Costly These brave men and women all DIED to give us the freedom, prosperity and privileges that we enjoy today in the United States of America. Let us remember with thanksgiving those who gave their lives that we might have the privilege to live “in the land of the free and the home of the brave.” And always remember that freedom is never free!

A Personal Testimony – During  my tour of duty in 1967 with the US Navy in Vietnam, I traveled to  the city of Manila in the Philippines. My visit to the city included the  cemetery where the US soldiers from World War II were buried. What a  sight! I gazed in awe at the seemingly endless rows of white crosses  (over 17,000) marking their graves. 

     My namesake, Lewis Richey, one of my Dad’s best friends, died in that war while fighting in the Philippines. I couldn’t help but wonder if his name was on one of those crosses. The sight of all those crosses was a vivid reminder of the great price that has been paid for freedom. 

     It was a deeply moving time for me. As a soldier myself, it struck close to home. This was partly because I was in the midst of a war in a distant land, far removed from family and  friends. But it was primarily because of the contrast between all those crosses and the one cross they represented. 

The Significance of the CrossWhat is the Cross behind the crosses? As I looked at all those crosses, I couldn’t help but think of what the Cross symbolized, and what it means to me personally. But what is the significance of the cross for you?

     “You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed. He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation” (John 11:50-51 NLT). Jesus Himself said, “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself. He said this to indicate how he was going to die” (John 12:32-33 NLT). And the Apostle Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live” (Galatians 2:20). So, because of the sacrificial death of Christ, we too shall live. 

     Thank You, Lord Jesus, for making the supreme sacrifice for our eternal freedom. And thank You, Lord, for all those brave men and women in the US Military who have sacrificed their lives for our human freedoms. We are truly free indeed!    

The Benefits and Horrors of War Today we enjoy the benefits of their great sacrifice. Therefore, we should do whatever we can to insure that those American soldiers did not die in vain! Furthermore, we should all endeavor to preserve, uphold and cherish the freedoms, values and privileges that these brave men and women have preserved for us through their sacrifice.

     But remember, it was not just their sacrifice, but the sacrifices of the families who lost loved ones. For them the sorrows of war live on. I saw this personally because my uncle Billy, a US Marine was killed while fighting in the pacific during World War II.

     When I was younger I wondered why no one in my family talked about it. Later, I realized it was just too painful. I could see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices at the mere mention of his name. They carried this great sadness and deep grief with them to the grave. Our family lost several friends in that terrible War—so sad!

     The Psalmist David depicted the same kind of grief at the news that the Israelite Army had been defeated and many were killed, including King Saul and his son Jonathan who was David’s dearest friend. David lamented their deaths with these words, “Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills! Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen” (2 Samuel 1:19 NLT). David went on to comment about the women weeping over the death of King Saul. 

     War is always a very sad and sobering time for everyone involved on both sides. Yes, we celebrate the victories won, but we should also mourn and pray for the families who have lost loved ones. 

A Prayer for America – We should take time to express our gratitude to God on behalf of those who have made our freedom possible. And, of course, be mindful and prayerful of our military who are currently putting themselves in harms way to defend this country. As they continue to sacrifice their physical lives, please pray that they might have Spiritual Life through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

     Thank God for those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. And thank God for the ONE who died for all, that we might be free indeed . . . free to walk in newness of life because of Jesus Christ the Lord! And let us pray that our national motto, “In God we trust” would become a reality for all the citizens of this great country!

On this Memorial DayLet us all come together as “one nation under God” to remember with grateful hearts the military personnel who have died for this country. We have much to remember, and much for which to be thankful. We can enjoy this great country today because of the many military personnel who DIED in defense of the USA.

     On this Memorial Day we can all be encouraged by the words of the Lord Jesus, “These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NASB).

God bless the USA!!!

Dr. Lewis Gregory

 

US Pledge of Allegiance

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.”

Source Ministries © 2022

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