Sermon Illustrations

The most memorable 4th of July celebration for me happened at Fort Devens, Massachusetts in 1986. The fireworks are usually excellent at any military base for the 4th of July, but that is not what I remember.

The cannons shooting at the playing of the 1812 Overture was impressive, but not the most impressive thing.

The 10th Special Forces were assigned to Ft. Devens at that time. With the band playing 4 helicopters flew overhead. When they reached the field -- out jumped some of the members of the Green Beret. Parachutes opened. As they were floating down, from those same helicopters 200 or more feet from the ground, ropes dropped.

Soldiers were sliding down the ropes, but they didn’t seem very large as they dropped faster and faster. They were coming out of the helicopters headfirst. As if in unison, they stopped...oh it must have been with their faces less then a foot from the ground.

This was not a precision competition team -- but a "normal" Special Forces team.

A reminder, of some you have heard many times before: Freedom isn’t Free. These skills have a purpose and a history. It started with a Declaration of Independence that finishes with the words, "And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." As they wrote this, they were telling the world, that they would be willing to place everything on the line for the sake of becoming free and independent states. It continued down through such things as the Battle of Put-In-Bay, won by Admiral Perry on September 10th, 1813, part of the War of 1812, to keep our Independence.

And yes, you can continue through the wars and battles our country has been part of for all those years. It is reflected in the words of JFK, when he said, "The cost of freedom is always high, but American have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission."

(SOURCE: from a sermon by Wally (Stephen) Seibel,, "Freedom’s Judgment" 6/30/08)

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