Our freedoms should never be taken for granted

Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist

Today is Veterans Day, a day to honor those courageous men and women who have made great sacrifices that enabled you and me to live in freedom. I cannot emphasize enough the impact of what those unselfish military people have done to defend and preserve this nation.

Let us never take for granted the depths of pain, passion and heartaches these brave ones have given in our defense. Freedom is not free. It comes with a great price.

We remember our veterans in the past and those military personnel on foreign soil today. Where would we be without their dedication and service to our country? We are extremely grateful that some brave soldier gave his or her all that we might live in freedom. That freedom comes from battles, victories, blood, sweat and tears. Those who protect our way of life make the “American Dream” possible for anyone who is willing to work for it.

Knowing the blessings of freedom, we are willing to fight to the end and we will prevail! I am reminded of God’s instructions to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 22:6: “If you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young.” (NIV)

I often pondered the meaning of this verse. I think the mother bird had to be set free because she had known freedom and would die in captivity. So would we. We love our way of life and we honor those who gave their time and lives to preserve it. We do not embrace socialism, communism or terrorism. We declare and repeat… “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” (Gettysburg Address-1863)

To veterans I say, we honor you not just today but every day. Words are not enough to tell you how thankful we are for you and we surround you with prayers, as well as prayers for our president, cabinet members and congress. A “thank you” seems so small in the light of your unselfish service to mankind, but generations in the past and those living today enjoy the fruits of your labor and sacrifice. The emotional trauma and scars have come from the enemies who have an insatiable thirst for power and a distorted dream of global conquest. Your service to your country cannot be measured in monetary terms, but of loyalty, love of God and country with willingness to give what you can to make the world a better place.

Dear veterans, because of you we can salute the flag, sing, “America, America, God shed His grace on thee…” attend the church of our choice, vote at the polls, express our opinions and pursue happiness. You make it possible to say with our forefathers, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” (Declaration of Independence)

Veterans you have made America the “land of the free and the home of the brave” and we salute you! Thank you for rising up to defend the rest of us, sacrificing your life to save ours. You are our nation’s heroes!”

I SALUTE ‘OLD GLORY’ PASSING BY.
IT’S A WONDROUS THING TO ME.
I THINK OF WHAT IT STANDS FOR
AND THAT FREEDOM ISN’T FREE.

I HEAR A TRUMPET PLAYING ‘TAPS,’
AND A MOTHER’S TEAR I SEE.
A PHOTO OF A LOVING SON SHOWS
THAT FREEDOM ISN’T FREE!

“Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13 NIV).