As we leave Memorial Day weekend, all of us as a nation are reminded of the great sacrifices made for us by military men and women over the last two plus centuries. It is beyond my comprehension what these brave people endured so we might enjoy the freedoms we now have as Americans.
My wife, Renee, and I recently vacationed in Paris. It was a delightful time and an astonishingly beautiful city. But the highlight of our time there was visiting the Arc de Triomphe where Renee’s father kneeled for a picture in June 1945, along with 30 some fellow soldiers and the mayor of the city. Renee has had that picture for decades, and we brought a copy with us to see if we could find the exact spot where he knelt. And we did! The town homes in the rear of the picture were still there and the exact same pillars and chain were still present. She knelt, I took her picture, and she then stood there and wept both for the privilege to be where he had been, and for her loss (he died in 1972). It was an awesome experience.
A couple of hundred miles to the north my Uncle Joe is buried, so I’m told, in a military cemetery. He died during the last months of the war when his fighter plane was shot down over Germany. I never had the privilege of meeting my Uncle Joe or my father-in-law, but I am grateful for their sacrifice and for the legacy that they left in their heroic wake.
These two great men are a minute but true sampling of the millions of men and women who gave their lives for our freedom. And their legacy is one that we cannot and should not ever forget. We all leave legacies and these legacies cost us something. I am struck with the fact that I am just as responsible to leave a lasting legacy for my children, grandchildren, and the generations to follow after that. My father-in-law and my uncle have had a part in enabling my wife and me to live a full and free life. And I realize that I now have the responsibility to see to it that my legacy will be one that will enable the generations to come in our family to live in peace and freedom. Thank God for our brave veterans. May He give us the grace and strength to live lives worthy of their sacrifice.