Am I a Soldier...

by Mark Klages , Christian Examiner Contributor |

(Photo: Grace Place Church)Grace Place Church of Enterprise, Alabama placed 6,809 American flags on their property during Memorial Day Weekend 2014 in memory of the 6,809 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003.

Today is Memorial Day. I am a veteran. I am a Marine. I respect everyone who served, good, bad, or ugly, and I respect organizations and functions that set aside time during their events this weekend and today to recognize the sacrifice of those we've lost.

The spectacle I witnessed last night during the NASCAR Folds of Honor Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway was breathtaking. With most of its 89,000 seats filled, NASCAR's longest night and the only NASCAR race with a scheduled "halftime show," at the midway point of 400 laps, Charlotte Motor Speedway, fell silent. Forty of the highest performing cars in racing, forty of the loudest cars in racing, and nearly 89,000 fans all held a moment of silence in commemoration of those servicemen and servicewomen lost in defense of these great United States.

And the silence was deafening.

But I am going to break with tradition here on Memorial Day and say something that might make my readers angry, but it needs to be said. It is neither the politician who makes our laws nor the jurist who weighs their legality that keeps us free. It is neither the President who helms the administration of this great nation nor the walls and policies he enacts that keep us free. It is not the police officer who patrols the streets or the pilot who patrols the skies who keeps us free. It is not the soldier, airman, sailor, coast guardsman or Marine who sacrificed his or her blood on the battlefield that keeps us free. No. While each of those carries a responsibility for securing our way of life, there is only one who is responsible for the freedom of these great United States.

We are free because the almighty God has deemed it so.

"I form the light and create darkness." (Isa 45:7, NKJV)

God the Father has made us free. And God the Father can end our freedom. The Bible is replete with anecdotes about how God's chosen people are conquered, enslaved, killed and captured as a direct result of their disobedience or simple failure to follow God's precepts. All of Israel was taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25) and held until only a remnant remained. That remnant returned to the holy city in Jeremiah 25, but only because our loving God sent Cyrus to reestablish Jerusalem (Isaiah 44).

Finally, Paul reminds us that even if our walls and our borders were to fail, even if we were to find ourselves in chains, beaten, bloodied at the hands of our captors, we would still be free.

"But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." (Acts 16:25, NKJV)

So, Christian, on this Memorial Day, as we remember those who sacrificed their lives so that we could LIVE free, please remember Him who sacrificed His Son so that we could BE free. And may God continue to bless these United States of America.

– Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.