Be grateful to those who have sacrificed

By Joan Clayton: PNT Religion Columnist

Every day I hear complaints, murmurs and criticisms of my beloved land.

I am an American and proud of it. I cherish the freedom I have. I wouldn’t live anywhere else on Earth. For more than 200 years this country has opened arms to those who seek a better way of life, a place where dreams can come true by hard work and perseverance, a place where freedom exists. Take away freedom and you take away life.

Blessings have reached down to all of us, blessings of prosperity, technological advances, modern-day medicine, communication and transportation. Each one is moving forward in an amazing progression.

America provides golden grain, majestic forests, mighty oceans and rich productive farmlands. Factories, manufacturers and research laboratories have provided materials for tremendous services to mankind.

I cringe when I hear what’s wrong with my country. I submit to you the many wonderful things that I cannot even begin to number, chief of which is freedom.

America has felt many tears for the shed blood of those who have given their lives to preserve freedom, the right to vote, the pursuit of happiness and the chance to fulfill the American dream. America has been a beacon of light for those imprisoned by dictatorship. In the midst of adversity, courage, strength and faith have remained immovable, preserved by the sacrifices and unselfishness of American citizens.

The “spirit of America” is ingrained upon the hearts of this beloved nation with the bravest of the brave. Compassion has been poured out to imprisoned countries of famine, greed and selfishness.

Freedom has come with a great price, and let us not take that heritage for granted.

United we overcome our enemies and defend our way of life.

On this Memorial Day may we remember and be grateful for those in the military who have sacrificed for our way of life.
Let us also be reminded of dictators who have afflicted untold misery upon the human race with brutality, cruelty and misery. If any one of us had to go overseas to defend this beloved land and see the conditions the military is under, we would be mighty glad to be back on American soil. Our military cannot be thanked enough.

In a time of any national crisis, the military has given their all. Their lives have been interrupted. They have been separated from loved ones. Who among us can know the pain, loneliness and willingness to fight for our country? Yet they think of protecting those they love, this beloved land and the treasure of freedom.

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

May “Old Glory” wave with pride. The red, white and blue means so much to me.

The red stripes remind me of the blood that has been shed to keep America free.

The white stripes remind me of bandages wrapped around wounds inflicted on those who would hurt this country.
The blue field represents to me the “true blue” patriotism of the homeland.

On this Memorial Day, may we all remember those who have gone before us. Let us rise up. Stand up for America. Love this land. Salute the flag. Hug a veteran. Give back to America the dedication our veterans and military give to us. May those of us at home be positive and upbeat, sending our troops encouragement, demonstrating that we are not moved by setbacks and circumstances, but stand tall in faith and prayers for the good of this nation.

Yes, America has given so much to all of us. May we return those gifts of honor with respect, loyalty and patriotism.
Again I say, “God Bless America!”

Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and religion columnist living in Portales.