Did they die in vain?

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Thousands upon thousands have died to protect the American way of life and all of the freedoms that we hold so dear. Did they die in vain? Do we really hold those freedoms so dear? Did those before us like Martin Luther King Jr. and  John F. Kennedy also die in vain? Were all of the efforts of Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Anthony all for nothing?

The answers are all lost in hatred, strife, unacceptance and unforgiveness.

Monday we recognized Memorial Day. The day we pause every year to honor those who gave all. Those who lost their lives on a field of battle and all of those who served our country and have now gone on to a place of peace.

It wasn’t a day to celebrate. It was not a day that a backyard BBQ or swimming at the lake was the most important thing. Memorial Day is the day we remember. We remember and pay our respects to all of those who fought for our way of life, and never came home. It was a day to think about all of the moms who lost their children, wives and husbands who lost their spouses and children who lost their parents.

All of the flags you see lining the streets are not out there just for decoration. They are a tribute to the blood spilled, the losses experienced by far too many, and the lives of those who put on a uniform and put themselves on a battlefield to defend our freedom.

It was not a day to celebrate.

But again, was it all in vain? Did all of the blood spilled and all of the lives lost and torn apart mean anything?

There was a day when I believe it meant so much, and was surely not in vain. Today, I am not so sure.

We have become a nation of self loathing, self hate, and infighting. There is an unofficial civil war being waged right down on Main Street USA and it teeters on the precipice of destroying us, and all of the efforts of those who came before us.

The right wing badgers the liberal and the liberal defames the conservative. Those who wave their Bible and call themselves Christian fight amongst each other over doctrines, denominations and demographics, all the while denouncing the lifestyles of others, ignoring the red word written statements of Christ who ate with the publicans and sinners, ministered to the prostitutes, and cried out for peace and love.

I have friends that denounce the LGBT community and I have friends that live in it. I have friends of every color of the palette wheel and there are those who believe that color makes them special and those that know, like I, that it is the heart of a man that makes him who he is, not the sheath of skin he wears.

We have become a people of separatists, hiding behind the security of social media where we become brave and bold as we speak vehemently to all of those who don’t live or believe the same way we do.

We fight in the streets and tear each other down over the color of a man’s skin, his sexual preference or even where he gets his chicken or buys his clothes. We have become hatemongerers.

The saddest thing about it all to me is that we fight not only with those who are worlds apart, we fight with those who should be the closest to us. Brothers fight with sisters, sons fight with moms, Christians fight with Christians. It is slowly becoming a world devoid of any semblance of real peace.

Where is the peace? Where are the peacemakers? Why can’t we get along with our brothers, sisters, neighbors and countrymen? I am not asking for us all to join hands around some massive campfire and sing kumbaya together, merely just that we recognize that it is our sin of self and the disregard for the Great Commission that keeps people out of Heaven.

Are we really going to stand by and let the greatest nation on the planet crumble from within? Is it even still the greatest nation? It was once told to us by our enemies that they would take it from within, without firing a shot. If that was to ever happen, it would be nobody’s fault but our own.

We cannot let selfishness and hate divide us. If we are truly a country founded on the principles of freedom, a love of Christ, and the tenet that all men are created equal, we need to stem the flow of hatred and put our focus where it belongs.

There is a song I love written by some truly gifted Christians. Tears come to the eyes almost every time the lyrics hit my ears. It goes:

“Sometimes, it's hard, for me to understand
Why we pull away from each other so easily,
Even though, were all walkin’ the same road,
Yet we build dividing walls between our brothers and ourselves,

But I, I don't care, what label you may wear,

If you believe in Jesus, you belong with me,

The bond we share, and all I care to see,

It will change the world forever
If you will join with me, join and sing, sing...

You’re my brother you're my sister
So take me by the hand
Together we will work until He comes
There's no foe that can defeat us
If were walkin’ side by side
As long as there is Love
We will stand.”
 

Blessed are the peacemakers. Strive for peace. Learn to forgive. Seek reconciliation. Be colorblind. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

Above all, remember this. Something I was told by my grandfather, who fought in WWII on the killing fields of Europe.

“In a foxhole, when you don’t know if you are going to be next or the one beside you, there  were no politics, no race problems, and no Yankees or rednecks…just brothers.”

Don’t let it all be in vain.

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