President Obama's speech last night noting the end of direct American combat operations in Iraq causes me to think of many of our people who sacrificed so much for the freedom of another people, and for the preservation and security of order in the world.
I think of all who served, including our son, Staff Sgt. Noah I. Davis (USMC), and the pains and challenges they endured to fulfill their difficult mission. I thank them, and I thank God for them.
I think of those who were wounded, and of those who will live the rest of their lives with the scars. Some lost limbs, eyesight, and hearing, and some will live the rest of their lives in excruciating pain or paralysis because of their injuries. I thank them, and I thank God for them.
I think of those who died, the many thousands of those who died, including our son's comrade and friend, Sgt. Foster Harrington (USMC). I think of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for liberty, and of the hallowed American heritage of the "the last full measure of devotion" paid by so many throughout our history. I cannot thank them. And so even more, I thank God for them.
I think of families who waited for the return of their loved ones from harm's way, and of those who still wait. I think of the many hours of pain and uncertainty faced by spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts. I think of family members who will be lifelong caregivers for severely wounded veterans, and of sacrifices that will continue long after the Iraq conflict fades from the memories of most. I think of families who lost loved ones in Iraq. I think of them often, especially because God so graciously brought our son home from his service. I thank them. With great sympathy and much sorrow for them, I thank them, and I thank God for them.
I think also of those who served, and still serve, in Afghanistan, and of their families. And I think of those Americans who defend liberty around the world, and of their families. I thank them, and I thank God for them.
I had a dream last night that I had been summoned by my country to leave my family in order to go to some faraway land to fight for our freedom. It was only a dream, and I've never had such an experience. I nevertheless woke up deeply disturbed, and immediately the thought occurred to me how how many of my fellow countrymen and their families have literally experienced the agony of such separation and loss (and of some who are experiencing it right now, in this very moment). I then thought of the Lord Jesus Christ leaving Heaven to come to earth in order to fight the war of the ages for our eternal salvation and liberty. He lived, died, and rose again to become "the Captain of our salvation," and He forever bears the wounds of His sacrifice and victory. I think of Him, and I think of all those throughout the history of our nation whose lives and sacrifices for others reflect the truth of God's redeeming love for us. I think of Him and them, and I thank God for them. It doesn't seem enough, and it is not enough. But I think of them. And I thank God for them.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
"God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."