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Every year touches me a little more. I don’t know why; I know no one who made the ultimate sacrifice in war.

I served in the US Army, but never had to fire my weapon at an enemy or in defense of others or myself. I was trained to kill in the defense of my country. Everyone around me was trained the same.

The closest I got to combat was serving as a drill sergeant during the first Gulf War, when President Bush ordered our troops to liberate Kuwait from the clutches of a dictator. None of the young men I trained saw combat during that brief war as it started and finished during their early weeks of Basic Combat Training. I have no idea how many of them may still be serving, or wound up paying the ultimate price in defense of their nation.

I don’t say this to pat myself on the back for a job well done, though I am very proud of my service to my country. I am blessed to have been born here. I did nothing of myself to deserve these blessings of liberty. I am thankful to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, as Isaiah writes, for these blessings and for the ultimate sacrifice of God’s son on that cruel cross so many years ago. He died in my place; but what’s more, he rose again as promised and will return one day to claim those of us who have professed him as Lord and Savior.

Until then I will continue to thank those here in the United States of America who laid down their lives for a larger cause, to ensure the freedom and liberty that we enjoy today. Freedom isn’t free, for it carries with it a responsibility and a duty to promote, protect and perpetuate it until the day when Jesus Christ returns to claim his people.