Memorial Day makes me think about people defending out of love. Love for country, and the people in it. Love of righteous principles. Love for personal freedoms that should be God given.
I remember when my dad would come home from a military assignment, after a long stretch of time. Mostly, I remember him looking tired. And grateful to be home with us.
I remember going to events on different bases in Tidewater Virginia, where every branch of the military is represented. There were air shows, concerts on base lawns – various activities to bring folks together to- I thought- remind us of the blessing of having a military force to watch over and keep us safe, and to celebrate the gift of freedom in the U.S.
I remember tears sliding down my dad’s cheeks – often – when he saw the American flag waving. When we’d attend a program at which any national song was sung. Or even when children would stand to pledge allegiance to the flag. He understood what the flag represented. He had sacrificed time, energy and safety in order to help keep his family safely covered by the freedoms that flag represented to him. He had done it out of love.
Now we have our youngest son – baby boy- deployed in foreign waters, in difficult circumstances, following in his grandfather’s footsteps. When he spoke with us, before leaving for a nine-month-or-so tour, he said:
I’m doing this for our country. But I’m mostly doing this for y’all. I love you and want to do my part to keep this country free. I’m doing it to honor and protect you – my family.
I thought of other men – Nephite men – who were willing to fight for their homes and families. Because they loved them and were willing to do whatever was required to defend them – out of love. The Title of Liberty their family enjoyed was worth fighting for.
Something shifted in me the night baby boy called. I saw puzzle pieces snap into place in his mind and heart. Important pieces about family, courage, and service. About sacrifice and loss and faith. I felt a surge of growth in my son, and it caused a surge of growth within me.
Since his time in the service of our country, baby boy has learned somewhat about mentoring those who are newer to the ranks; about speaking out for what he feels to be correct; about defending those who can’t defend themselves. About appreciating the good-better-best scenarios of life, when we’re called on to prove our mettle by choosing what is best.
And that really makes me happy.
A few really good things worth fighting for:
- The elderly who can’t defend themselves
- Children who need someone to protect them and stand up for them against bullies or any kind of harm
- The ill and infirm
- Anyone who can’t stand up for themselves, and need a little help
- Kindness and cooperation and genuine love
- Eternal concepts that grant real freedoms
I knew that baby boy was ‘getting’ it. And understanding – in real ways- a Title of Liberty.
Christ was the Prince of Peace – yet, his principles must sometimes include conflict as we protect our liberties and our families, right? When we must stand up for eternal values. Defending out of love.
This Memorial Day I’m grateful for baby boy, who has joined the ranks of veterans who have left a legacy of courage and service in the military. For my dad- and all the other dads and moms, children, brothers and sisters – who have died to help “make me free.”
Freedoms are eternal in nature, aren’t they?
For every person who – knowingly or unknowingly – has marched to make men free, I offer up my gratitude. Happy Memorial Day.