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Do you know what it cost to attain? What it costs to maintain? Do you know who pays the price?

Do you know what it cost to attain? What it costs to maintain? Do you know who pays the price?

Have you heard of the fallen 9,000? 60 volunteers took to the beaches of Normandy with rake and stencil around the remains of the floating bay barricades. That 60 soon turned into 500 who raked body shapes into the sand. Sadly the symbolism is reality. The pictures of the 9,000 stencils only lasted hours as they were washed away to be forgotten. Let us never forget them folks.

Memorial day is a day with great history and tradition throughout the ages. Honoring the fallen in battle with gravesite flowers is an ancient custom. In America specifically, historic references to 1861 in Virginia and 1862 in Georgia and 1863 in the unforgettable Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The first public display of this event was May 1, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina honoring hundreds of war prisoners who died while being held at the local race course. Freed slaves policed and landscaped the area, built an enclosure and an arch leading to the mass graves. The archway read, “Martyrs of the Race Course.” Tens of thousands gathered to honor the lost. We watched on Saturday May 24th as young Boy Scouts adorned the graves of fallen military personnel. It was encouraging!

On Memorial Day Americans celebrate those brave souls whom gave their last full measure of devotion on battle fields around the world to preserve our freedom. Every individual alive and enjoying the freedoms of this nation owes them gratitude and humble respect. Our flag immortalizes them.

The red strips on our flag represent their blood. Those red stripes are first, and last. First because this nations freedom was wrought through that blood. Red is the last stripe because without continuous flowing blood, our days are numbered, they will not last. Freedom and liberty flow down the flag as more blood must be let to continue pure freedom and liberty. The last red stripe provides for the perpetuation of the process.

The white stripes follow each blood stripe because shedding blood atones (Hebrews 9:22). As detestable to some that the mention of blood may be, we are free because of it. The purity of freedom and liberty in America was EARNED at great cost. Maintaining that freedom and liberty is equally expensive. The ground of liberty is made fertile by the streams of soldier’s blood. This is the simple truth. They died for you to be free, liberated from tyranny, released from autocracy, patriated from dictatorship.

We are not unfamiliar with strife or empty of spirit. We earned the right to live free in October 19th, 1781 when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. We earned freedom again in 1898 during the Spanish American war. We re-earned our independence by repelling Germany in November 1918 when Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated. Again we secured our liberty first in Europe against Hitler, then in Japan against Hirohito.

On Memorial Day, we celebrate not our victories, but those whom gave every ounce of their being to earn those victories. To deny them is to deny Antietam, Gettysburg, Lexington and Concord, Saratoga, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Leyte Gulf, and the invasion of Normandy, the Battle of the Argonne Forest, The Buldge, Bunker Hill, Breed’s Hill, Midway Island, Boston, San Juan Hill, Bull Run, the Persian Gulf War of 1991, Pearl Harbor, Shiloh, Hampton Roads, the Frozen Chosin, Falluja, the Alamo, La Drang Valley, Mogadisu, Guadalcanal, Sharpsburg and lest we not forget the Battle of New Orleans.

In all cases, we lost brave men and women in the fight. Our national fight has always been about sovereign freedom based in our desire to worship God as we determine appropriate. No one in America wants another Nebuchadnezzar, Pol Pot, Hitler, Mussolini, King George, Muhammad, Herod, Caesar or any other dictator.

Honor those whom have fought and given their lives for freedom. Freedom to worship, freedom not to worship. Freedom to accumulate wealth, freedom to be content with a meager living. Freedom to be a doctor, freedom to be a rancher. Freedom to praise God in public. Freedom to criticize political policies regardless the promoter. All of these come with a price, bloodshed on the battlefields of time.

What about religion? Many use the warmongering of the Catholic church in the middle ages as testament to a hateful God and destructive Christian religion. Some point to God’s command to obliterate the Caananites in Deuteronomy seven and claim the same applies. The truth is that the pattern was set by man’s sin and God obeyed it himself by sending His own Son to die on the cross at man’s hand on Calvary.

Great power and bloodshed are always required to secrure liberty. For man, the great power of armies and the blood shed of her soldiers, sailors, Airmen and Marines. For eternity, Jesus sacrificed himself, shed His blood, and exercised the power of resurrection to free believers eternally from the grips of death and hell. Though this may seem grotesque to some, the truth remains only exerting great power and shedding blood can defeat and stave off dictatorships, tyrants and despots which result from a sin filled world. Jesus’ blood atonement freed all of mankind, liberating all who believe. We should never forget, your children should never forget, your grandchildren should never forget. Remember those lost in battle for freedom, remember the one on the cross who died for your eternal freedom.