Today is Memorial Day here in the United States.
It's a day we honor those, like my Grandpa, who have made the great sacrifice. They sacrifice themselves for us. It means no longer our life is just now our own.
Recently I read a story about a boy named Andrew from Austria. He spoke about when the Germans invaded. In the town where Andrew lived the man and boys organized and destroyed a power plant that the Germans relied on to continue their war effort, but they did not anticipate the swift and severe retribution of the Nazi invaders.
The next morning before the sun was even up trucks stormed through the town. Soon the sound of marching soldiers was heard in the streets. They ordered the men and boys of the town 12 years old or older into the town square. Young Andrew found himself standing in line with the other man and boys still trying to wipe the sleep from his eyes. The commanding officer rebuked them and told them that they were fools that they could think they could stand up against the night of the German army. He told them that they were nothing and their minuscule efforts would not slow down the German war effort. But rather, it would hurt them because a price was going to be paid for their rebellion. He then said every 20th man in line would be shot. As each 20th man was home from the line in March the way Andrew look down the line and start accounting with her he realized that he stood in a 20th position. He trembled with fear as the soldiers moved closer and closer to him and he could hear the shots as they started to ring out at the edge of town where the men were being taken. As the Germans continue to move down the line Andrew could see the others counting, and their eyes turning to him with the look of pity and concern. Andrew felt himself wanting to run, but too frighten to move, he knew even if he tried to run the soldiers on the trucks with the mounted machine guns would cut him down before he could get 10 yards.
But then the instant that the last man was pulled before the line The Germans turned their eyes away and Andrew felt a hand on his shoulder the hand tightened quickly and before he knew what happened. Andrew was jerked forcibly from one spot over and an old man who had been standing next to him moved swiftly in and switched positions. Andrew looked up at the silver haired man and in the terrifying moment the man smiled tenderly with reassurance he would be ok. Just before he was taken from the line and led away the old man spoke quietly to Andrew “your life is no longer just your own, live it for both of us”
Andrew watched silently as he watched the old man disappear from view towards the edge of the village. His heart jumped as the sounds of gunshots rang through the air. Shots that Andrew knew were meant for him and should’ve been his own. In that instant tears started flowing down his cheeks. He determined He would indeed live his life for both of them from that day he wanted to live so the unknown of man would have felt a sacrifice was well repaid. We all could’ve been that 20th man but instead
We all could’ve been that 20th young man, but instead someone from the United States Armed forces took your spot. So now your life, my life is not our own. We must all live for all of them. But are we? That is the question to as yourselves if we are to honor them. Have we made their ultimate sacrifice worth it by how we’ve used this precious life. The one they made the ultimate sacrifice for.
If you want to honor our fallen heroes it is not necessarily just prayer that will help, nor through planting a flag or flower. It is by taking a good look in the mirror. Are we living up to our end of the bargain? Are we living our best life? Are we living fully and not just for us now, but also for them? Because our life is no longer our own.
If you know someone who died in active military service please list their name below in the comments. Let's remind ourselves who’s life we are also living for.