Over the many years our nation has embraced the gift of liberty, much has been said about that freedom and the cost that it bears. We would be pressed to find anyone who loves this great land who would not agree that many have paid and many more will pay the supreme sacrifice of their very own life to protect and serve our country. But in light of the many atrocities that our nation has experienced in recent days, months, and years, might I suggest that many people have given the ultimate sacrifice of their life just by the mere fact that they were out enjoying those very freedoms? No, they were not fighting a war on foreign soil or in any conflict of which they were aware. They were worshiping on a Wednesday night in their local church, running a marathon for which they had trained an entire year, or just going to school or work as usual on a regular fall morning. These people too are just as much a casualty of war as our brave men and women in uniform, and deserve our sincere gratitude and remembrance. Because of freedom, they gave their lives. Because we as a people grant every man. woman, boy, and girl the great gift to be free, many have had to relinquish their own gift of freedom because others abused theirs.
Just as we are grateful for every soldier who has given their life to protect the freedoms we cherish in this country, we also owe our remembrance to others who have been sacrificed as well for the cause of freedom. The parishioners who attended mid-week Bible study on that fateful night in Charleston, those who ran the Boston Marathon or who were there to enjoy the great outdoors as spectators, the men and women who entered the Towers on just another day of work, or the innocent children who thought they were in safe sanctuary within their schools, they too are owed our gratitude. Because out of their unknowing fate to be present where they were at that particular moment in history, they entered the Great Hall of Heroes who have paid the ultimate price so that Liberty can exist in this country every day of every year through decades past and decades to come. Because of that great freedom, no one is made to walk around wearing warnings tattooed on their forehead: Beware of me; I might be a killer. No one has to hang a sign around their neck revealing to others that the motives of their heart are evil. No, THAT is the cost of freedom. Everyone is free to walk the streets regardless of their possible evil intentions, the bitter hatred brewing in their hearts, or their biased and slanted perceptions of what their freedoms allow them to do. We will all have to answer one day for the way we choose to use our freedoms -- did we use them for good or allow them to use us for evil? Should we do away with freedom and allow it to no longer flow through the halls of our schools, our businesses, our community centers and churches? To do so would be to destroy the vision our forefathers fought so hard to make reality -- freedom for all who walk this great land.
So, as we remember not only those devoted soldiers who enter harm's way every single day to protect us, we also honor those who have given their lives for freedom just because they were enjoying those very freedoms that were won with so great a price To those who were just going to work or school, casually enjoying a beloved activity, or simply worshiping on a warm summer night, we offer remembrance. We thank those who were sacrificed just by being where they were at an inauspicious time in history and, because of that, have been written down in history's heroic ledger along with all the others who have sacrificed and paid the ultimate price for freedom. We promise you that your sacrifice will never be forgotten. When we talk of the great heroes of this land, we will remember you. When we talk of the ultimate sacrifices of those who have given their lives, we will think of you. When we tell our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the glorious freedoms achieved by hours of hard work and sweat, fear, and sacrifice, we will remind them of the unseen heroes that you are. Let us commemorate the birthday of our nation 2015 with fireworks, parties and festive celebrations, but also with reverence and awe for those who have not only given their lives in order to achieve and protect freedom, but those who have given their lives because we possess freedom.
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Posted by CC
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