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Remembering the fallen

Today is Memorial Day, a time we set aside to remember and honor those who have died while serving in the U.S. military. These brave men and women paid the ultimate price for freedom. It’s a price I became intimately aware of my freshman year in college. 

After graduating high school, many of my friends and family members chose to serve in the military, and I spent a lot of time each week writing letters and sending care packages. At that time, the U.S. was in the middle of the Iraqi war, and while I always knew it was possible someone I knew wouldn’t come home, I never really thought it would happen. Until it did. 

Abe joined the Marines straight out of high school and was proud to follow his father’s footsteps and serve. He was an Eagle Scout and involved in leadership in his local Boy Scouts of America troop. He would go backpacking along the hardest trail and always stop at the same spot to kneel and pray. He was involved at church and was a role model for many of the children in Sunday school. 

But on Nov. 9, 2004, 19-year-old Abe was fighting during the Battle of Fallujah when a shell fragment hit him. He died in the battle. When the news reached us back home, the whole community was devastated. 

At his funeral service, his mother shared that right before Abe left for Iraq, he told his mother he didn’t want to die, but he rather it be him then someone else because he had faith in Jesus Christ and his soul was ready for heaven. 

Abe trusted in Jesus and made sure others around him knew God too. He was a light in a dark place and even his death brought the gospel message to people. Abe was confident in his Savior, and he lived each day in that assurance. 

We aren’t all warriors, like Abe, fighting physical battles, but we do need to live life like one. Are you reliant on Jesus Christ? Is he always a part of your day? Are there others around you who need to hear the truth of the gospel? How can you shine God’s light in your everyday life? 

This week, and especially today, take time to honor those who have died in service and remember to live in faith and assurance in Jesus Christ. 

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” –John 15:13

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