|(Photo from syracuse.com)|
I thought that would just have been a White House or Capitol Hill event---staged mainly because of tradition or media consumption.
But in the church we attended, a big chunk of the recent Sunday service focused on thanking God for these servicemen's lives and giving them accolades for their sacrifices for freedom's sake.
Cadets marched in with the US flag. The congregation heartfully sang the national anthem. Eleven honorees took center stage.
"I handled supplies, from toilet paper to missiles," shared Filipino Christian Center's Rev. Andy Miranda, the day's preacher---also a retired navy personnel.
But the tribute's high point still belonged to God. Worship flowed freely.
"Freedom is never free," added Pastor Andy, referring to Christ's sacrificial death on the cross for the salvation of all mankind.
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends" (John 15:13).
Countless lives go on the line everyday all over the world for the sake of democracy.
Thank God we live in countries where freedom of speech, religion, assembly, owning properties, etc., are respected as unalienable rights.
But those are only a chunk of the freedom equation.
Even while a lot of people today enjoy comfortable, materially-satisfying, free-wheeling and fun-filled lives, millions are still far from being free.
Countless others suffer malnutrition and bloodshed under oppressive regimes in several countries.
But even where citizens consider themselves enjoying human rights, many find themselves bound.
They're up to their ears in debt. You'd be surprised that in this land of milk and honey, people are already awash in debt even while attending college.
A recent Yahoo News headline: "This Bright-Eyed Young Man Was Utterly Demolished by Student Loans"
Untold numbers seem to have been stuck in the lust lane, where the insatiable need for drugs, sex, money and power supersede their desire for normalcy.
When sober, they realize how empty these highs seem; yet they're at it again at a moment's notice, unable to control the urge.
Couples, too centered on "me," instead of "we," easily call it quits, resulting in dysfunctional children fathering even more dysfunctional kids who get caught up in their own webs of insecurity and poor self-image.
All these prove that governments could not dictate or legislate---even fight---for our freedoms completely.
Real freedom comes only through Jesus. He alone can release us from every form of bondage.
"The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind," declares Jesus in Luke 4:18.
Jesus' humiliating death nailed every kind of bondage to the cross. Forever.
In Jesus, you can have peace within even with chaos around you, joy even in sorrow, healing even in brokenness, and hope even when those around you have given up.
Let every day be a memorial day for thanking Jesus who promised to set us free.