As a young boy, I have always had great respect and admiration for American soldiers. Growing up in the Philippines, our independence was vigorously fought for by the United States military. Perhaps one of the most memorable military quotes that tie an American soldier to my home country was the one delivered by General Douglas MacArthur, “I shall return.” The courage, bravery, and dedication of these soldiers paved the way for the future prosperity and missionary works in the Philippines.
And yet, as I write this more than half a century after World War II; as I enjoy now the freedoms afforded to an American citizen, my heart remembers.
I Remember Their Sacrifice
It wasn’t until I moved to the United States and studied its history that I truly began to comprehend the sacrifices our soldiers made. I thought that because I was the recipient of their deeds, I understood. But as I began to read about the sacrifices they made, I was amazed!
Some left thriving careers. Professional athletes fought for freedom, not a paycheck. Business owners shut down their shops. And some never came home alive. What more can a nation ask for? Jesus said it this way, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Their sacrifice brought my homeland peace and I was able to enjoy the blessings of that peace, which included hearing the Gospel for the first time in my life!
I Remember Their Families
Oftentimes we forget that each soldier is someone’s son, daughter, father, mother, husband, or wife.
Just think for a moment about the memories you have made with your family in recent days. That walk to the park. The meal at a restaurant. The family game time. The tickle parties with your kids. The date night with your spouse. The graduation service of your child. These memories and so much more are memories that some families will never be able to make.
Some military parents can’t be home for their child’s birthday. They’ll miss the graduation service. They won’t be there to hear their baby’s first words and some won’t even witness the birth of their child.
I am extremely grateful for the service of our soldiers, but take the time to also thank the service of their families.
I Remember Their Impact
Even though the Philippines is a largely Catholic country, we did enjoy religious freedom. It’s no secret that one of the impacts (past and present) of our military’s service is our religious freedom. Whether they agree with our beliefs or not, they are fighting to preserve it.
I was saved a few months after I moved to the United States. But can you imagine where we would be if the Gospel cannot be freely preached in our country? Would you be saved? Would I?
I’m glad I don’t have to live out the answer to those questions because our soldiers and their families sacrificed, we are free to worship and share the Gospel with whoever we choose.
Please, don’t waste the sacrifice that has been made. Remember our soldiers by living the abundant life Christ desires for us and sharing Him with others!