Remember those who have given all
May 25, 2009
by Rev. Bill Hillyer, Saving Grace Lutheran Church, Delano

Serving as a young lance corporal in the United States Marine Corps Oct. 23, 1983, I was devastated to learn that just a few hours earlier, 220 of my fellow Marines, 18 sailors, and three soldiers had died in a terrorist attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. I spent days trying to understand why someone would do such a thing.

A few days later, as I watched the names of several of my friends scroll across the television, now numbered with the dead, I realized what the cost for freedom really was. These servicemen had given their lives so that the people of Lebanon and the United States could be free. They had given the ultimate sacrifice.

This week, as the church wrapped up the Easter season, I was also reminded once again of the sacrifice required for true freedom. That freedom cost the Son of God His life, as well. But in that exchange, all those who believe in Jesus Christ are given eternal freedom and salvation from sin, death, and the devil.

Jesus says in John 15:13; “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

Because of God’s love for mankind, Jesus willingly gave up His life so that we might have freedom. I hope you know that freedom.

Over 25 years have passed since that first terrorist attack on America. It is so easy to forget the lives that were lost that day.

It is just as easy to forget about the sacrifices paid by those veterans who live among us today, who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War. I am also amazed how quickly we can forget about those still coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. All have served proudly. All have been willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice.

Now that Memorial Day is here, and summer has officially begun, don’t forget to thank those veterans in your life. While true freedom on this earth is fleeting, and one can only truly be free when the Son of God sets them free – our veterans have shown that same love for their country in their willingness to give of themselves so that we might remain free.

Thank you, veterans.