Summary: Freedom never comes easy nor is it free. We need to remember those who paid dearly for our liberty. We must remember both the sacrifices they made and also the ultimate sacrifice that He made to set us free.
“In Remembrance of Me”
Tomorrow is Memorial Day. In a survey taken over ten years ago, only 28% of Americans understood the true meaning of Memorial Day. The day, unfortunately, has become more about retail and picnics than understanding the importance of remembrance and the solemn celebration it should be in our lives. It is a day of remembrance - remembering the sacrifices paid for our freedom. Freedom never comes easy nor is it free. We need to remember those who paid dearly for our liberty. I want us today to remember both the sacrifices they made and also the ultimate sacrifice that He made to set us free.
I. Remember the sacrifices they made to protect and preserve our freedom
A. Our Founding Fathers were not cowards. They made immense sacrifices to establish this Great Nation in freedom - not the least of which was going to war with the enemy of that freedom. All who have fought intehe War for Independence and the subsequent wars and conflicts along with those who are fighting today have continued to make sacrifices in order to protect and preserve our freedom.
B. Have you wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? 5 signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. 12 had their homes ransacked and burned. 2 lost their sons in the revolutionary army, another had 2 sons captured. 9 of the 56 fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the Revolutionary War. There was and is a tremendous price to pay for freedom. - copied
C. The number of those Americans who have sacrificed their lives to provide freedom for you and me are staggering:
1. The American Revolution - 25,000 dead and 25,000 wounded
2. The War of 1812 – 20,000 dead and 5,000 wounded
3. The Civil War – 625,000 dead and more than 281,000 wounded
4. World War I - 116,516 dead and 204,002 wounded
5. World War II - 405,399 dead and 670,846 wounded, 30,414 MIA
6. Korean War – 36,516 dead and 92,134 wounded
7. Vietnam War – 58,209 dead and 153,303 wounded, 2,489 MIA
8. War on Terror – 6,280 dead and 41,936 wounded
9. All Military Casualties from 1775 to present – 1,343,812 Dead and 1,529,000 wounded – copied from wikipedia.org
This does not even take into consideration the civilian men and women who sacrificed all they had to procure and defend our freedom.
D. The spirit of sacrifice is exemplified in the life of John Hancock. "When Gen. George Washington besieged Boston, he asked Hancock whether the city should be bombarded, to which Hancock replied: 'Nearly all the property I have in the world is in houses and other real estate in Boston; but if the expulsion of the British army requires their being burnt to ashes, issue the order for that purpose immediately.'"
E. "They defended our nation, they liberated the oppressed, they served the cause of peace. And all Americans who have known the loss and sadness of war, whether recently or long ago, can know this: The person they love and miss is honored and remembered by the United States of America." -- George W. Bush, Memorial Day Address, 2004
F. Perhaps best expressed in a tribute entitled "The Price of Freedom" concerning those who fought in distant lands defending our freedom... "Some were ready and prepared; Others were so young and so naive. Some of them chose to serve our country, Others had no choice, they were called to serve. As they hugged and kissed their loved ones bye, Their hearts were heavy and tears filled in their eyes. Not knowing if they would be coming back home, Or if they would die, it was all so unknown. As they prepared to fight for our freedom, We prayed to God for their safety. They all left their loved ones, And their lives that they had known. They departed to an unfamiliar land, risking their lives and making so many sacrifices. Being away from family and friends, giving up what most can’t even comprehend. The horrors and atrocities that Our Veterans faced and endured. You may not ever know or totally understand. They protected our rights, our freedom, and the rights of others, So that we could have and enjoy freedom in our land. Some came home to a Hero’s welcome, others didn’t come home at all, they made the ultimate sacrifice. Some came home and were disgracefully shunned; others have been so shamefully forgotten. All of our Veterans served our country, With great pride and true honor. There is a price for freedom, which they ALL so graciously paid. They ALL greatly deserve to be remembered and honored, After all.... They are truly America’s Heroes!" – Shannon Hanson