Honestly, one day is not enough to be thankful for our soldiers. We should be grateful for them every day of every year, because if they had lost, our world would be so much different today. Just imagine what our lives would be like had the Allies lost World War II. That alone should be enough to make you appreciate the freedom fighters.
I think being a soldier is one of the most Christ-like occupations. The reason I say that is because of Jesus's words in John 15:13 (The Voice): "There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends." That's exactly what Jesus did. He sacrificed Himself on the cross as the greatest expression of the most powerful love. Men of the army follow His example, whether they acknowledge it or not, by sacrificing themselves for their country and the future generations, even when we don't even know them.
But why? Why do honorable people who serve in the armed forces have to die in order that others may live? Why did Jesus even die for us, when surely there could've been some other way?
It's because freedom has one currency, and that's blood.
Without the shedding of blood, true freedom is not bought. In order for someone to stand tomorrow, someone has to fall today. I hope that every soldier who died on the battlegrounds that war stained with blood caught a glimmer of what the future would be. I hope they knew that their efforts were not in pain, that they weren't just another tally in the KIA count. I pray that they saw a beautiful future of liberty, one where people don't have to cower in their houses and run from tyrants.
Obviously, our life now isn't perfect. There are still people in the world who cower and run. There are still tyrants who seek to squash freedom. In fact, we have squandered our freedom at times. But we can change. The world can change, but it starts with us. Just like it started with the soldiers charging into the maw of death.
I'd like to go on a bit of a side note here and venture to say that we as Christians have sometimes been a little comfortable with our lives. We've been okay with staying seated instead of taking a stand. Jesus wasn't always a "nice guy." While He told His disciples to be as wise as snakes and as gentle as doves (Matthew 10:16), He also said that He came to bring a sword rather than peace (Matthew 10:34). These statements, you'll notice, are made in the exact same chapter. He's the guy who caused a ruckus in the temple by overturning tables and driving the people out (Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:45-48, John 2:13-16). He's the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), but He also has a double-edged sword in Revelation 1:16.
What am I saying? Christians need to understand that there is a time to stand and fight rather than sit and wait it out. There is a time to make waves rather than go with the flow. There is a time when silence is yellow rather than golden. We have to spot those times when they arise so that we can follow suit.
I'm not saying you're going to be asked to die. But surely we can follow the examples of all the brave men and women who've gone before us and acted selflessly in the face of impossible circumstances. Our sacrifice may not be our lives, but if we love others, we'll be willing to sacrifice what we can: time, money, popularity, or whatever else it may be. Because that's what true love does.
So while today is a day of remembering our veterans, let it also forever be one where we choose to honor their lives by sacrificing something for someone. It's what they did.
It's what Jesus did.
Let's just take a moment of silence to honor the fallen.