Whenever I think back through American history my heart swells with pride. America thrives on freedom; freedom thrives where heroes dwell.
We are a country of military heroes.
We reap the benefits of this wonderful harvest of heroes who created our country, who keep the American dream alive, who fought for and defended freedom in the face of despotism or evil with no guarantee of the outcome. Courageous men and women heard that high calling; they answered with gallant efforts and offered up their lives to protect the freedom of those they left behind.
These heroes did not have “greatness thrust upon them.” They had tyrants and their minions, the horrors of war, the crack and flash of deadly weapons, misery, pain and death thrust upon them. Their “greatness” flowed from efforts most can not imagine and from results that inspire further greatness in those who follow them into heroism.
How important are they? If you can imagine an America without its military heroes, you can imagine a world without America.
The cost of freedom can be high. War is a despicable thing. But the heroes of war set the stage for a country's future and make that future possible. We admire and honor our heroes; we wonder at their courage and feel a not-so-secret pride to share with them the name American.
Heroes die; they ofttimes die in battle. Their lost lives create a debt to the living for which we all must accept responsibility. The freedoms they secured for us are now ours to maintain. We must honor those who gave everything. The guardianship of liberty falls upon us. Freedom might be lost forever should we fall asleep while on duty.
No matter our calling or station in life, we are all soldiers of freedom. We must each determine our contribution, our personal responsibility to freedom and the memory of fallen heroes; then, we must do our part without fail.
And when past heroes and present heroes and the heroes of our future meet once again on a higher plane, we can rest assured they will gather before a smiling God.
There are heroes in our midst, in flesh and in spirit. They drape their love of country in soldier's garb …. and serve.