It never fails. Over and over again I am brought to a point of calling to mind the great blessings we have been given by God. The many freedoms we enjoy in this country are often taken for granted or overlooked altogether. It seems that with ever increasing intensity these freedoms are being challenged. Some would argue they are being fought for, however, it appears those who would argue thus are the same people that are threatening the freedoms of others. I can’t help but dwell on the history of our country and the men and women who have given their all to protect the freedoms I enjoy today. Why is it that so often we take their sacrifice for granted?
Over the course of my life I have been made keenly aware of the price of peace. There is rich heritage within my family of service to the United States. My mother’s mother was married to a young man named Glendon Collins. Glendon served in the United States Marine Corp. He and my grandmother were only married for a short time prior to his being deployed into battle during World War II. I remember my grandmother telling me how she was so terrified prior to his departure. It wasn’t that she would be left here alone with two small children while he was away, she was afraid he would never return. Much to her sorrow, she received news that shortly after they arrived at their destination, Glendon was killed in action.
My grandmother was later married to my grandfather, John W. Gordon. He served in the United States Army with General George Patton, where he was involved in the advancement through France and Germany. He once told a story of a time they (he and his fellow soldiers) were under attack by a German aircraft. Luckily, they were near a bridge at the time of the attack. He explained that it was quite comical how as the plane approached, they ran and took cover on one side of the bridge. When the pilot circled back to attack again, they ran and took cover on the other side of the bridge. This continued until the pilot gave up. My grandfather eventually returned to the U.S. where he lived until August of 1986.
My father’s father, Rayburn E. Harris, served his country in the United States Navy with U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur. They spent a brief time at Pearl Harbor before moving on toward the Philippines. My grandfather would tell of the invasion of Leyte. He told how as they made their advancement, as far as he could see in every direction he would look from the ship, there was nothing except other ships. As they began the battle, the Japanese used a tactic that had not previously been employed. Kamikaze pilots. My grandfather said the planes would come by so close that he could see the pilots looking at them, and he remembered being able to see the white scarves the pilots wore around their necks.
My father, Frank Harris, served in the United States Air Force. He served actively during the late Sixties and early Seventies before joining the Reserves. He eventually attained the rank of Chief Master Sergeant. He was deployed to the Middle East during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle. He also served in Operation Enduring Freedom where he was brought in as Chief of Transportation at Al Udeid Air Base, central command for the U.S. in Qatar. My father retired in May 2006, after 33 years of service.
Freedom never comes free. There is always a price to pay. And to all those who have served and are serving so that we in this country can be free, I say thank you.
We also ought to be thankful to God for the great blessings we have in him. Our freedom from sin did not come without price. God gave his one and only Son so that we might be free. Far too many take for granted the gift of freedom God offers. Some spend their entire lives searching for peace, never finding it. The issue may very well be they are searching in the wrong places. H. G. Wells said, “Here I am at sixty-five, still seeking for peace.” True peace is found only in Christ. The Apostle Paul would put it this way, “…since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Because of Christ, we are no longer at war with God, but we now have peace with God. And the picture of our freedom is seen in Christ, who is himself, the price of peace.