THE LAST FULL MEASURE OF DEVOTION - THE SUNDAY COMMNETARY
They came from every corner of our nation representing our best and bravest. They fought in places whose names have become familiar to us not because the field had any great significance but because of what they so bravely did there.
Places like Trenton, Lexington Yorktown, New Orelans, Antietam, Gettysburg, the trenches of WWI, Verdun, Anzio Iwo Jima, Normandy, Porkchop Hill, Inchon, Hamburger Hill, Khe Sanh, Basra, Kuwait City, Asadabad, Baghdad, Fallujah. Each of these locations and many more where brave Americans gave their lives defending freedom and fighting for liberty in defense of this nation.
Not one of these brave American heroes left home with the intention of giving their life for this nation. They each left with a willingness to perform their duty with honor and with pride in service to their country with the full knowledge that this sacrifice in service may cost the, "last full measure of devotion."
They were willing because they understood that freedom is not free and there is a high price to pay defending what one believes in. Many left home as boys with high ideals and a yearning for adventure then faced the reality of war with uncommon bravery, devotion and sacrifice.
Some sacrificed to save a fellow soldier, some to achieve an objective when the situation became extreme and stepped forward regardless of the cost. Some just because stepping forward was all that could be done. Most gave of themselves without knowing where the courage came from.
But each who gave this, "last full measure, " are hero's who deserve our respect and our affection for what they sacrificed preserving freedom for each of us. They deserve our memoriam every day for the life they gave in sacrifice and defense of our Flag, our Country and our freedoms.
Nothing that we do, nothing that we say can bring them back nor honor them in the fullest extent that they so justifiably deserve. Though we try through memorials that unite us in their sacrifice and the beauty of the architecture. These great memorial structures that stir our emotions as we remember what they gave for us can never fully pay tribute to these heroic Americans that paved the way for our freedom.
Throughout the Nation memorial services at cemeteries and memorials will remind us of each brave American who gave so that we may be free. We will shed tears to the strain of taps as we realize just how much they gave. Movies attempting to portray their bravery and sacrifice will also remind us of the amazing sacrifice that these best and bravest of this nation performed in defending our freedom.
Yet within all of these memorials and tributes to the thousands who have made the ultimate sacrifice at the altar of freedom, their heroism demands that we as a Nation more than just remember but rather live our lives in the freedom that they have provided for us in a manner that honors their sacrifice and pays tribute daily to their devotion to this country.
If ever we fail to remember our freedom or surrender our liberties or take them for granted then we risk making their sacrifice in vain. In their sacrifice they never once considered it anything more than duty in service to this Nation and an honor to have served. We owe each of them the same in our devotion to the liberties and freedoms that they sacrificed to give.
Nothing that we do can ever repay what they have given. Nothing that we say can ever express our gratitude for what we owe each of these brave heroes of freedom. How then can we begin to honor the memory and sacrifice of each who gave, "the last full measure of devotion ?"
President Lincoln said it best as he closed the Gettysburg Address, " that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. "
God bless our brave men and women who serve this Nation and sacrifice daily. God bless the families of every soldier throughout our history who gave their all for freedoms sake. God bless the memory of those who gave, "the last full measure of devotion," and finally God bless America !