Summary: The cost of freedom is not cheap. Many men have died for the freedom of our nation. But only one Man died for the freedom of our souls.
By Pastor Jim May
Thank God for freedom; freedom to travel across the fruited plain; freedom to visit the purple mountain’s majesty; freedom to go from sea to shining sea without having to clear a thousand checkpoints; freedom to go to the voting booth where the destiny of our nation is chosen, one vote at a time; freedom to work a job that I had the chance to choose; freedom to have property, enjoy life and to build a life of my own choosing. We free today because someone paid the price and bought that right for me.
Lee Greenwood sings a song that goes like this:
And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there is no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.
Freedom and independence are costly. This country didn’t start out as a nation of free men, but as subjects bound under the tyranny of an unfair English King. Through a bitter struggle our forefathers broke those chains of bondage. My freedom was purchased in blood on the battlefields of Bunker Hill, Yorktown and in the numbing cold of Valley Forge.
Less than 30 years later, in the War of 1812, once again the British Crown attempted to place those chains of tyranny on us, only to be defeated. One famous battle of that war, the Battle of New Orleans, was fought only because the two sides didn’t know that a peace treaty had been signed. But the soldiers of Andrew Jackson and the pirates of Jean Lafitte stood side by side to stop a foreign power from making us slaves once again.
Another 30 years goes by and once again, in 1846, we find ourselves defending our right to be free when the Mexican Army attacked U. S. Troops along the Rio Grande in southwest Texas. The Battle of the Alamo had already given Texas its independence and the Mexicans didn’t like it. Gen. Winfield Scott led our troops into the capitol city of Mexico and ended the fighting, only after more than a thousand men had paid the price for freedom.
Less than 15 years later an even greater threat to freedom was thrust upon us, but this time we did it to ourselves. A great division caused our country to nearly destroy itself from within. We became a house divided. The Civil War erupted at Fort Sumter, SC and ended 5 years later at Appomattox Court House, VA only after freedom had exacted a toll of over 500,000 who shed their blood before we would be united once again.
30 years went by, and suddenly our freedom was questioned once again as the Spanish tried to take it away. But the price of freedom was paid for at San Juan Hill when Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders fought against the Spanish on the Island of Cuba after the battleship Maine was sunk in Havana
Less than 20 years later, around 1914, the next challenge came. Freedom’s price was challenged by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany. Once again the high price of freedom was guaranteed in the trenches of the Argonne Forest and the western front in Belgium of World War I.
24 years after the “War to End all Wars” was ended, another war began. On December 7, 1941, “A Day That Will Live In Infamy”, the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor took the lives of over 2000 of our soldiers and sailors plunging our nation once again into the cauldron of blood. Freedom’s price was heavy indeed as America’s fighting men died by the thousands on a little islands like Iwo Jima, Tarawa, Guadalcanal, and on the beaches and hedgerow country of Normandy, France in World War II. Countless battles in fields and jungles all around the world are forever stained with the blood of those who paid their last full measure of devotion as the price of freedom.
I have here this morning a burned out wallet of a soldier, killed in the Battle of the Bulge, while he tried to fight back the power of Germany’s Third Reich, as a grim reminder that freedom is never free.
Less than 10 years later, in 1950, blood was being spilled again at the Frozen Chosen Reservoir, Inchon and Pusan when the communists of North Korea and China tried to destroy the freedom of mankind. Those battles were fought on foreign soil, but they kept our land free.
10 years later, in the rice paddies of the Mekong Delta, at Khe Sahn, and in the Tet Offensive, and many more places, in a land called Vietnam that American would love to forget forever, men died, and blood was shed in the longest war in our country’s history. Though their sacrifice wasn’t appreciated or even recognized for many years, over 58,000 soldiers gave their lives for the freedom we all enjoy this morning.