“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NIV
When I reflect on this Scripture verse from John, the first thought that comes to mind is the sacrifice that members of the military make for us. It truly underscores the selfless action that a person makes when they decide to enlist in the military knowing that they could be called to put their life on the line for their fellow man.
This verse takes on special meaning leading up to Veterans Day, the day our nation sets aside each year to honor all of America’s veterans – living and dead. I encourage you not to just think of this as a day that mail isn’t delivered and government offices are closed. Look deeper and remember the true sacrifice that these men and women make to defend the freedom we enjoy.
We have all heard the saying, “Freedom isn’t free.” It is easy to say it without much thought. But when you hear of veterans like Travis Mills who lost parts of both legs and arms from an explosive device in Afghanistan, it is hard not to be moved. Travis is just one of thousands upon thousands of military veterans who have been critically injured in the Afghanistan and Iraq war zones. They are left with debilitating injuries that they will be coping with for the rest of their lives – all in the name of protecting our freedom.
Through the beginning of 2015, 6,800 troops have died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. These veterans paid the ultimate price in the name of our freedom. It is staggering when you think about all of the veterans who have died in the line of service through all of the wars and conflicts that our country has been involved in. Lives not completely fulfilled, destinies not met. They all played an important role in ensuring that our country remains the home of the free. And for that they should never be forgotten.
We are blessed to have fellow citizens who stand up and answer the call of defending of our nation’s freedom when needed. They know they could be put in harm’s way but they do it to protect the freedom that their forefathers fought so hard to achieve. From World War I and II to Korea and Vietnam to present day, brave men and women have come forward to serve valiantly.
How do you show your gratitude to the veterans who have served our country? Saying thank you seems so inadequate. Some of these veterans have been critically injured and can’t return to the life they once knew.
I think that a simple show of gratitude, such as saying thank you for your service, is powerful though. This gesture reminds veterans that their deeds haven’t been overlooked or forgotten. Whether they served in Vietnam, Iraq, Korea or Desert Storm, all veterans appreciate having their efforts acknowledged.
Sending a note or gift to a hospitalized veteran or one living in a veteran’s home is a meaningful thing to do on Veterans Day or any day of the year. Even a simple thank you will surely brighten their day. If you live near a veteran’s hospital or veteran’s home, plan a visit to thank some veterans in person. It may feel awkward at first, but it will be something they won’t soon forget.
Tonight, say an extra prayer for our military members. These brave men and women are far from home and are in dangerous situations. Pray that they have the courage to face the forces of evil. Pray that they stay safe. Pray that they return safely to their families.
This post was written by Family Christian's own Tammi Skellenger. She enjoys camping, football and spending time with her husband and two golden retrievers.