The Price of Freedom

November 14, 2022

I have been privileged to travel to an assortment of countries around the world. I have seen breathtaking beauty, met incredible people, and had experiences I never dreamed of. I took pictures galore and couldn’t wait to get home and share what I had seen and felt.

Yet there was never a time when I did not return to the United States filled with pride and gratitude for being born and living in America. When the jet broke through the clouds and the message came through the speakers on the plane, “Flight attendants, prepare for landing!”, I always felt a thrill. As the wheels touched down, it was the best rumble in the world. For me, the United States of America truly is the greatest country on planet earth. America the beautiful IS the land that I love.

I am well aware we are far from perfect. We are far from getting things right in many areas. Yet when I have traveled, no matter where it was, nearly 100% of the people who interacted with me would give more than we can imagine for the privilege of coming to live and work and experience America.

I believe much of the reason America has been who she is through the years has to do with the character and sacrifice of many of the grassroots citizens. From the struggle of our birth right up to today, there are some among us who have been willing to pay a major and personal price to secure for us the privileges we have.

Sacrifice and service are not natural. That’s why we have an inner draw of respect and curiosity about those who put their own interests secondary to sacrificially serving.

Veterans Day is a time for us to pay our respects to those who have served. As the saying goes, “All gave some and some gave all.” I would disagree with that in a slight way. When you agree to serve in the military, you are signing up for an unknown result. Perhaps many of those who sign up because of youth or just simple lack of thought are not fully aware of it. But a soldier doesn’t know on the day of this decision how it will change him, what all his sacrifice to serve will require of him. She doesn’t know where she will live, when changes will happen, if she will eventually be wounded or even die. All of that demands deep respect. On this one day, most Americans stand united to respect and honor those who choose to serve in this magnificent way.

This holiday started as a day to reflect upon the heroism of those who died in our country's service and was originally called Armistice Day. It started on November 11 because that is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. However, in 1954 the holiday was changed to Veterans Day to remember and honor all veterans in all wars.

We celebrated and honored America's veterans this past week for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Why don’t we follow this up with prayers through Christmas that the “peace on earth, goodwill to men” that the angels sang about that first Advent would fill every soldier’s heart and that peace and goodwill will begin to characterize America and then the world. It starts in individual hearts, and only Jesus can do it. That’s a sacrificial and serving choice every one of us can and must make as followers of Jesus.