Freedom, the liberties which Americans so richly enjoy, is not really free, because it comes with a “price.” In other words, a service man or service woman is always “paying” for the liberties, which Americans may easily take for granted. For instance, at the Kabul Airport today, 13 service members gave their lives for their country, the United States of America and, even more than that, the cause of freedom for the Afghan people. They, too, including their innocent children, have died for the sake of freedom in Afghanistan.
That the service members deserve the honor of the American people is made evident by the Pauline principle of give “honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:7, ESV). Today, American citizens pause to remember and honor the service members who lost their lives in the service of their country; to remember, too, their families who now grieve over the loss of their fathers, mother, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.
Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13, NIV). Similarly, greater love has no person for his country than to lay down his or her life for it. Of course, American citizens or civilians may have great love for their country, but a soldier’s sacrificial love is far greater. Therefore, freedom is not cheap. In fact, its price is costly, inestimable. It cannot be purchased with money, which is a thing. Rather, it is purchased with human flesh and blood, the ultimate sacrifice of men and women in the military. Their lives and sacrifices are infinitely greater than money or anything it can buy.
Were their deaths in Afghanistan in vain? Absolutely not! In the words of the Gospel Song “If I Can Help Somebody,” made popular by Mahalia Jackson, “If I can help somebody, as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain.” The lives and deaths of the 13 service members and the innocent Afghans were not in vain!
May they rest in peace and may their good work in time bear fruit in eternity. Amen.