Earn This

This seems to be a year, a season, of looking back at those who have sacrificed for me. I’m not sure why it’s hitting me so profoundly this year, but it is. Today is the holiday in which we pause to reflect upon the men and women who have, as Abraham Lincoln so eloquently stated, “laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

This “Memorial” season formally started Easter weekend. Of course, that was a time to reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice Jesus paid for my freedom from the eternal consequences of sin. He went to the cross and took upon Himself the cost for our sin.

My second Memorial Day came just a couple of weeks ago as we observed Mothers Day. Having recently lost my mother in March, it was an especially significant time for me to remember the sacrifices my mother made for me throughout my life, and the final 44 years of hers.

The one common denominator in the heroes we honor is that they never complained about the price they would pay. True heroes don’t complain. When I hear stories of 9/11 and the firefighters running up dozens of flights of stairs, carrying heavy equipment as they did, as people raced down the stairs to get out of the doomed towers, I haven’t heard of a single account of any of them complaining of fatigue, of how heavy their equipment was, or “why me?”

Today is a day to reflect. It’s a day to consider those who have paid the ultimate price for the lives we enjoy. I, for one, am tired of complaining about the economy. I’m tired of hearing it. I’m tired of talking about it. I’m tired of government officials who point fingers at one another, looking for someone to blame for life’s difficulties.

Heroes don’t complain.

It’s simply time to remember the examples of those who have gone before us, and honor their sacrifices by living honorable lives which were made possible by those who paid the price for us.

In the closing moments of the movie Saving Private Ryan, Captain John Miller looks into the eyes of the man he paid the price for and uttered these words: “Earn this.” It is our duty to remember those who have laid it all down for us. It is incumbent upon us to live lives which honor their sacrifices. It is our responsibility to live a life that says “thank you” to those who made our lives possible.

Thank you to all of those who made my life possible. I pray that from this day forward, my life will honor each of you as I strive to continue the heritage you bequeathed to me in your sacrifice, by passing it on to others, and sharing with them your examples of selflessness and heroism.

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