Monday, June 6, 2011

Home of the Brave.

Last weekend, Brent and I had the privilege and honor of attending the U.S. Naval Academy's graduation ceremony in Annapolis, to watch our dear friend Josh Teeman graduate. The graduation speaker was the Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, who announced that it would be his last commencement speech from his position. What an honor to listen as he imparted words of advice to the thousand young men and women offering up their lives in service to our great country. He even got a bit teary and emotional at the end of his speech, as he was discussing the burden of sending young people, like those he was speaking to, off to fight for our country. I got a bit teary myself, just looking across the football field at the crisply uniformed graduates, taking an oath to honor and protect our country in service to the Navy. Not only am I so grateful to all of those graduates and all service men and women, but also to their families. We sat with the Teemans during the ceremony, and it couldn't help but think about how much they are giving up as well: long months between seeing their son, brother, and boyfriend and worries when he is on deployment. I have a friend from church whose husband is in Afghanistan, so she goes many months without seeing him. Coming from a long distance relationship, I empathize with their pain, but also have no idea what it would be like to worry about a loved one in danger daily. I can't thank the families of our military men and women enough for their sacrifice either. I consider these people, these families, those I was surrounded by on that Friday, to be the most patriotic and brave of us all. I was honored to be among them.

I love that the graduation coincided with the weekend of Memorial Day, another chance to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and freedom of all Americans. Again, the families of those men and women are heroes as well.

I also love that, on that Sunday, our preacher spoke of the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for us as well. On Memorial Day, I hope that we all remember that we are forgiven and able to go to heaven because of the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus paid for us.Though we didn't deserve it, nor were we even born yet, Jesus loved us and died so that we could live.

 How could we not be eternally grateful, literally?

We truly live in the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.


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