Those words ring in my ears, in my heart, imprinted deeply after hearing them uttered with such sincerity at my father's funeral 10 years ago this May. The impact deepened by a 21 gun salute and a carefully folded flag being presented to my mother under a dark green canopy in the pouring rain.
Today, on Memorial Day the television is tuned to the ceremony held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier honoring those whose lives were lost as they bravely fought for our country, our rights, our freedom. I heard Taps playing as I was beginning to write this and it caused me to pause with tears welling, head down, feeling each note stir something so mournful and sorrowful in the center of my being. How many others have experienced this exact same thing at the burial site of a loved one who served for us, who put their very lives on the line to ensure the lives and freedom of others would be preserved...your life, my life, our children's lives.
Are we truly grateful for all that has been given for us...the blood shed, the limbs severed, the lives lost? Though it is impossible for any of us who have only witnessed battle from the comfort of our cozy living rooms to fully understand the severity of the price paid for us, I cannot fathom how anyone can be aware of this sacrifice and feel anything but an intense and humble appreciation. Yet I know there are those who don't share this feeling, and I wonder how anyone could feel resentment towards their own protectors.
Peace is such a wonderful notion, I think some people who have been romanced by it tend to see a soldier as an enemy of a serene world where there is no war, no fighting, no differences, a world where every nation lives together in harmony and love. As lovely as all that sounds, it is a dream that can never be a reality. We live in a fallen and broken world which has been this way from the beginning. Our world is filled with good and evil, selflessness and greed, justice and corruption. Neither side of the coin can be eliminated, and true peace cannot be achieved while both exist.
I wonder if anyone can fully imagine what would happen if our great nation sat idle in the name of 'peace'. What would our lives look like if no one was willing to battle the opposition on our behalf? When I look at a world like that I don't see 'peace' reigning supreme. I see our freedom stripped and our people oppressed. Maybe some would disagree. All I know is that I am honored that others have stepped up to make a life of freedom and liberty for me and my family. I am one of many who are standing in humble appreciation on behalf of a grateful nation...