A few weekends ago, while exploring the countryside in Pennsylvania, my parents and I stumbled upon an old log church. As I wandered around the cemetery (not something I typically do!) I was amazed by what I found, including gravestones that commemorated several men that had served in the Revolutionary War!
In fact, this modest cemetery in Bedford County, PA, had gravestones for men who had served in every military conflict from the Revolutionary War to the present day.
I was humbled by the hundreds of years of service, and at least one life that was lost in action, from this small community.
We’ve seen a lot of strife this year. But on this Veteran’s Day, I hope every American can pause in gratitude for all those who have gone before us and served to protect and defend our country and our freedom.
It may be an overused saying but that’s because it’s true—freedom isn’t free, and so many have served to allow the rest of us to live the life we choose, to worship the way we want, and to pursue happiness as we see fit. We can make all the typical disclaimers about how America isn’t perfect (of course it’s not!), and we have so many problems (we do and we should seek cultural and policy solutions), but we as Americans are privileged and blessed with a measure of freedom (and prosperity) that the vast majority of the human race has never experienced.
I offer my thanks and gratitude to the servicemen of Bedford County—and all who have served, including my family members—thank you! You inspire me to cherish my freedom and work towards an America that ensures rights and opportunities for all people.
Freedom is incredibly important, but it isn’t everything. For the Christian, it is an incredible blessing to live in a land of religious liberty, but our citizenship ultimately resides in heaven.
A few other gravestones at the old log church inspired me on this note. Seeing the witness of believers who were born nearly 200 years before me, and lived in a vastly different world than I know and yet clung to the same promises from God’s word that I do, was very moving.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.”
“Preserve me O God, for in thee do I put my trust.”
And a final one to share: this young man, who seemingly lost his life while serving in the Army during the Civil War, was buried by his parents with this epitaph:
“Here lies, with the hope of a joyful resurrection, the mortal remains of …”
Eternity with Christ, the resurrection of the body, and life in the new Kingdom is the blessed hope for every believer. That is a truth that will truly set one free.