Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 – New International Version
You’ve heard some of these stories in the past, I’m sure. A uniformed Army Private boards a commercial flight somewhere in the US and the entire plane erupts in applause and appreciation; an elderly veteran is warmly welcomed and offered the best seat in a restaurant; a women returns from a 9 month tour with her National Guard unit in Afghanistan and has her job available to her again, and is given opportunities to share with her fellow employees the pain and the successes she saw; state upon state making sure every loss of a native son or daughter fallen in battle is revered with flags at half-mast and formal memorials to honor them. This is done because of what that man or woman has done, but more importantly because of what they represent… hundreds of thousands of men and women who each and every day either lay their lives in harms way to defend us, or who are ready at any moment to leave work, family and friends to answer the call to duty. And not just in the military, but Police, Fire Fighters and Emergency Workers as well.
|All who are willing to do this for me, they are my friends.|
There’s a reason we honor the Flag of the United States. It is a symbol of our history, our dedication to maintain a free society, and our determination to defend our society to the end. Some may think that the United States is just a country, just a government, without recognizing that the United States is (imperfectly) a representation of the human spirit’s desire to live in freedom and defend all people’s right to that freedom.
The members of our military (and frankly, the military of any free country) are the front-line defenders of that freedom, protecting our society from those that would want to use force to subvert, dismantle, or otherwise destroy the free society we hold dear. The men and women of our military and domestic defenses are committed to fighting, and if necessary dying so that others may live. That is their calling… it is the ultimate sacrifice, and the ultimate message of love that one person can show another. This is the pinnacle of selfless giving and grace, choosing to die even for some that may reject the values of freedom we hold dear.
All who are willing to do this for me, they are my friends.
I will honor them. Any one of them, when I see them, represents all of them. As protectors of the American Ideal, as guardians of our liberty, each one I see is like an angle, and represents the whole of those that protect us as the Flag represents everything about our country. And I will honor any who I see. And I will make sure they know I am their friend, as I consider them to be mine.
If you are reading this, and you are in the military, active-duty or reserve, Coast Guard, or if you are in a police force, are a federal justice agent of some kind, fire-fighter or emergency worker, I am and always will be your friend. Thank you for being mine.
It’s hard to imagine what it was like for our soldiers returning from Vietnam. May that never happen to us again.
Unfortunately, it has been happening in Great Britain, and has caused the military commanders there to order soldiers to wear civilian clothes when off base. Gordan Brown  put a stop to that decision.
I hope the Brits get their act together on this point. Gaius spoke on this  earlier Friday.