Today is Memorial Day, the day set aside in America to recognize the ultimate sacrifice given by the men and women of our armed forces in defense of our country.
The reason people join the military are many and varied, and in times past, many did not have a choice about serving in the military. The reason many people in the military have risked their lives in battle have been varied; some see the “big picture” and do it purely out of love of country, while others are concerned more with defending their fellow soldiers at arms.
Either way, it is commendable that we remember their great sacrifice, for as Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” has always been special to me. Since it came out in the mid 1980s, it has spoken of the patriot’s love for America, and the desire that God continue to bless and protect America.
It became even more special to me on Independence Day 1989 after I had been away from my country in England for over two years serving in the Air Force. That summer, I was TDY from my main base on a small, sleepy little deployment base where our TR-1s had been moved while the runway at the main base was resurfaced. We were a handful of Americans in a sea of non-Americans. The British people at and around the base did a wonderful kindness for us that day, putting on an Independence Day celebration that was quaint in some ways, but the heartfelt desire to make us feel a little better (on a national holiday, far from home) was not lost on us. That evening I went to the small All Ranks Club where there were just a few of us sitting around having a few drinks and listening to music. At one point, the DJ put on “God Bless the USA,” and within a few minutes the other GIs of my unit and I had gathered in a circle with arms around each other and sang along with the music, some with tears in our eyes. For just a few minutes, it was almost as if we were back on the soil of that land we loved and missed so much.
On this Memorial Day, think of all those who have given their lives in defense of our country. Remember, too, all those who are serving stateside and overseas today–they have pledged to put their lives in harm’s way on our behalf. And don’t forget to ask God to bless the USA–over and above what we deserve.
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