This past Monday our nation celebrated Memorial Day. It’s a day to remember and to give thanks to God for the women and men who gave their lives while serving in our country’s armed forces and those who are still living today. If you are a veteran or are related to a veteran, especially one who died while in the armed services, please accept my sincere appreciation and that of a grateful nation for your or your loved one’s faithful and self-sacrificing service.
Last Friday’s USA Today in a table titled “The Toll of War” listed the number of U.S. deaths in major wars of the past 250 years. Information came from Congressional Research Service and U.S. Defense Department. Here’s the list:
|Revolutionary War 4,435|
|War of 1812 2,260|
|Mexican War 13,283|
|Civil War 625,000|
|Spanish-American War 2,446|
|World War I 116,516|
|World War II 405,399|
|Korean War 36,574|
|Vietnam War 58,220|
|Persian Gulf War 383|
|Afghanistan War 2,349|
|Iraq War 4,424|
Those who have served in the military, whether or not that service required the ultimate sacrifice of life itself, have created a legacy. That’s a word that means gift, bequest, inheritance, heritage, contribution. The gift given by those we honor each Memorial Day is that of defending and protecting our country’s freedoms and the safety of its citizens. Beyond that is the gift to their living family members of the godly example of honor, valor, courage, humility and commitment.
1 Pet. 4:10-11 reminds us: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
Jesus said: “Greater love has no one than that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Thank God for those who have served and continue to serve in our nation’s armed forces!