by Darin Clark
Honor. Respect. Gratitude. These are just some of the words that come to mind when I reflect on Veteran’s Day. Humility is another one. That’s what I feel when I think of all the men and women that have served in the United States Armed Forces. I think about the freedom we enjoy in our country and the sacrifice of those who made it possible.
We have a VA Medical Center in my hometown of Bath, New York, and my grandmother was an active volunteer there. When I was young we often joined her when she would coordinate parties and other activities for the veterans. At the time I was too young to truly appreciate what she was doing. Later in life, however, I realized how important it was. What my grandmother was doing was trying to bring some joy to these veterans that endured immense emotional and physical trauma.
I recently returned to this facility when my father was admitted to the hospice unit there (he was an Army veteran). As I spent the last few weeks of his life there, I was deeply moved by the care and respect that the workers (many who were veterans themselves) gave not only to my father but also to the many others who were there for treatment. Dignity, respect, and love were so tangible in the care I witnessed. It was all a great reminder of the respect we owe to all our veterans and why Veterans Day is so important.
There’s a sign at the entrance of this VA Medical Center that says, “The price of freedom is visible here.” This quote came to mind in a different way when I was sharing some thoughts at my father’s funeral. What came to mind was the visible price of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross paying for my sins— the ultimate price for freedom. Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:13). “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life,” (John 3:16). God’s love is the greatest freedom of all.
Do not take any of your freedoms for granted. Thank the Lord and thank a veteran.
Darin Clark lives in Nashville, TN, with his wife, Caree, and four boys: Noah (18), Caleb (16), Jacob (13), and Micah (10). He serves as a Graphic Design Specialist for Lifeway Christian Resources. He is also the Commissioner of the Father & Son Bowl.