Summary: A Veteran’s Day message of gratitude for the freedoms given to us by God and established and maintained in by the sacrifices of those who have gone before us.


John 8:32-36

Introduction: Most of you realize that last Friday, November 11th, was Veteran’s Day or Remembrance Day. It is a day celebrated also in other free lands. Throughout this nation and around the world, wherever the flag of freedom flies, thoughtful and thankful people paused at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to remember the price that has been paid for the freedoms that we now enjoy. LESS WE FORGET!

Australia my adopted land, and America, my native land, have set a national holiday for returned service men or veterans. I am pleased and proud this is the case.

I’ll never forget something that happened on our last trip overseas. I was pulled out of line in an airport in the U. S. for one of those random searches. I was more than tired. I was utterly exhausted. A tall burly security man approached me waving his wand. He asked me to do the ordinary things in preparation for such a search. I stood immobile with my arms outstretched as he made a thorough scan of my body.

As he finished, he stopped and looked me in the eyes and said, in a soft tone, "Sir, are you a veteran?" I said, "Yes." He nodded, "I thought you might be." Then he said, "Which war?" "The Korean conflict," I replied. He then slowly raised his hand from his side in a subdued military salute and said with obvious emotion in his voice, "I just wanted to say, THANK YOU!" That not only made my day but it made my year and gave me something to reflect upon for the rest of my life.

Another of one of the most moving experiences of my life came about three or four years ago when we were privileged to be present in a church on the occasion of a God and Country Day. There were around a thousand people present. The service focused upon stirring patriotic songs and hymns as well as readings and remembrances given to honor a nation of freedom and to remember those who had purchased and sustained that freedom at a great price.

At a certain point in the service, veterans were asked to stand as the military music of their branch of service was played. The sanctuary echoed with grateful applause as wrinkled, stooped and grey-haired veterans of the Great War stood to their feet. The applause was just as enthusiastic for those veterans of more recent conflicts. I am sure I was not the only one present that had to choke back deep emotion when my turn came to stand with my veteran brothers.

I would like to share with you something I wrote a few years back to be shared at a celebration honoring those who died for freedom’s cause in the land of my birth:

"REMEMBERING THOSE WHO PAID THE PRICE FOR FREEDOM - May this day be a time for remembering the great things God has done for America. For over two centuries the nation’s sons and daughters have fought and fallen in faraway fields and forests for freedom’s cause. Their blood has stained the dry deserts of North Africa, soaked the beaches of Normandy and saturated the sands of Iwo Jima. Their bodies have lain among the hedge rows of Europe, on the jagged hills of China and in the frozen wastes of North Korea. Today they still fall in near and faraway places for the same great cause. There’s scarcely a land, ocean or a sea on this planet that has not been hallowed by the supreme sacrifice of our nation’s heroes as they have answered freedom’s call.

Who were these patriots? These unassuming and non-pretentious heroes, we should remember as we celebrate our liberty today? They were mostly just simple folk. Citizen soldiers some were called. They rallied to freedom’s flag from the farms, villages and towns of our nation’s heartland. They came from the boroughs and suburbs of our great cities. These ordinary people came from all across our great land. They were not professional warriors or skilled combatants. But they were inspired by the clarion call of liberty and moved by the sublime cause of defending their country, their homeland, the land of their birth.

Who were these men who willingly laid down their lives at a time of their country’s greatest peril? They were those who became familiar with the strident sound of the bugle rising at reveille and soulful sound of taps reverently played at the setting of the sun. These are they who marched into battle and heard the awful whine of a ricocheting bullet, the rattling roar of a machine gun and the threatening thunder of a mortar shell; and then the heart-rending cry of a fallen comrade.

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