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Most people will never grasp the sacrifices of our American veterans. They were not on the beaches of Normandy as U.S. troops charged through Nazi machine gun fire. Many were not present in the swamps and jungles of Vietnam fighting against communism. Most have not experienced the harsh desert conditions on the Middle Eastern battlefield as soldiers kept Americans safe at home. Even today, brave men and women are willing to pay the ultimate price for our freedom. Few will know the high cost of our sacred rights and liberties.

Not only have our troops endured harsh conditions, many have experienced constant danger in combat situations. Imagine listening to the rings of constant gun fire, hearing the explosions in the near distance or taking cover from a surprise ambush. How often have soldiers wondered who will be the next casualty of war? Will they ever see their families again? What kind of injuries will happen if they step on a hidden landmine or another trap from the enemy? Still, these courageous troops march on and follow their orders. They execute their missions faithfully while Americans live safely, luxuriously and enjoy the best modern conveniences in the world. Numerous soldiers didn’t just suffer on the battlefield, they gave their lives.

As we think about our veterans, let us also remember the ultimate sacrifice of the cross. The gospels record a gruesome and torturous crucifixion. Roman soldiers mock Jesus as they put a crown of thorns on his head. They ripped the flesh off his back with the cat of nine tails causing extreme blood loss. Large iron spikes crushed through his wrists and feet as he hung on wood beams to die. Our soldiers paid the price so we could be free. Jesus died so we could be forgiven. Only he could pay the debt of sin to give eternal life to those who believe. Let us be thankful for the sacrifices that allow us to live the abundant life. We must remember where our blessings come from and not take them for granted.

Ralph and Elizabeth Pyszkowski, your brother and sister In Christ. Comments welcome at rpyszkow@gmail.com.

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