Bravery is not the absence of fear–it is doing the right thing, doing that dangerous thing that must be done–in spite of fear. From Gettysburg to Normandy to Saigon to Iraq, from NYC on 9/11 to hospitals today in the midst of COVID-19, you don’t need to think too hard to come up with valiant examples of people who have stood up on our behalf and shook their fists in that face of fear.
On this Memorial Day of 2020, I want to take this time and space to thank and honor those people who have and continue to do this.
This holiday started to honor and remember military veterans, both those who came home and those who did not. This is certainly appropriate. It has expanded sometime in the last 50 years, and also appropriately, to include the families of those brave souls who have stood between us and the dark and evils forces of this broken world–theirs is also a tremendous sacrifice, to go without a father or mother, during the time of their service abroad, or forever.
Starting from 9/11 (in my perception, anyway–I could certainly be wrong), it has also grown to honor first responders–police officers, firemen, paramedics, etc.–who daily, as a normal part of their jobs, and not just on days like 9/11 (although, certainly, especially on days like that), put their lives on the line to keep our cities relatively safe and civilized. I believe this is also appropriate for the same reasons–the sacrifices they and their families are willing to make on our behalf.
And now, in 2020, and also appropriately, in light of this menacing virus that infects people but leaves them asymptomatic for a dangerous period of time, we also salute and remember with extreme gratitude the medical professionals who take their lives into their hands every time they step foot in their place of work.
I thank God for all of you and all you have done and continue to do for me, for all of our families, and for this great nation.
One last thing: I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Jesus made the same sort of sacrifice for all of us. As He headed back to Jerusalem one last time, in the days leading up to Palm Sunday, He knew what was waiting for Him there, but He went anyway to lay down His life on our behalf. Read about His time in Gethsemane garden the night before His execution in Matthew 26 (among other places). In verse 38, He said to His closest friends that His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. It sure sounds to me like He was grappling with fear. But He went anyway. He voluntarily laid down His life so that you and I and every person for all time who looks to Him as their Savior will be reconciled to God and enjoy eternal life with Him in a return to the perfection of Eden. I am also forever grateful for His sacrifice on my behalf.
May God bless your day of remembrance for all of these sacrifices, and blessings for the rest of your week as well.
P.S. I’d like to take a moment to honor and thank my immediate family members who fit into categories above: David J. Little, a Vietnam Veteran who I’m proud to call my father-in-law; Kristin Carpenter, his daughter and my wife, as well as his 3 sons–Jeff, David (who also served), and Kevin; and Katherine (Katy) Neff, a NICU nurse and my daughter, plus her husband, Brandon. You guys all rock!