"Freedom is Not Free." I heard this saying months ago when my mother gave me a blanket that she'd gotten from somewhere (mayber the Vietnam Veterans group?) that she thought my cat Tobias might like to use as a bed.
Despite the manner in which the idea came to me, it has continued to be extremely thought-provoking, especially in this time of the war in Iraq and the various smaller conflicts that are raging around the world.
I think it's also appropriate that I recently completed reading "No Atheists in Foxholes: Reflections and Prayers from the Front," by Patrick McLaughlin. The author is a Navy chaplain who served for three years as the pastor at Camp David and then did two tours of duty in Iraq. His book - which consists of short stories recounting experiences and things that God taught him, as well as prayers that he wrote while in Iraq - really made me think.
While I do recognize that my freedom here in America was earned by the blood, sweat, tears and sacrifices of our ancestors, how often do I really stop to think about the sacrifices still being made by our men and women in the armed forces today?
As we approach Independence Day, I am reminded of the need for me to not only thank our soldiers for the many sacrifices they make, but also to consistently pray for their mental and physical health, courage, wisdom and safe return home to their families.