When I closed my palm over his, he raised a finger in response, and I could sense rather than see the relief on his face as he understood I would get it.
As a tear rolled down his face, he clung to the flags on his breast and spoke the words he had been able to muster despite his rapidly deteriorating health.
I got very near to his mouth and vowed then and there that I would tell his loved ones what he had told me.
He needed them to know that even if he lost this battle, it wouldn’t be for anything, there would be others like him in the future who would have to endure the same agony.
Ready to make the ultimate sacrifice again if, given the opportunity, They’ll go on foot, on boats, and on airplanes.
You’ve probably heard the old adage, “Freedom doesn’t cost nothing,” before.
I prayed for this soldier as I saw his light fade; I knew that soon he would be returning home, entering by grace.
I carefully propped his head up, put the glass to his lips, and he smiled through his eyes as he took a tentative sip.
How many days would pass before I finally tracked down the girl he’d been telling me about back home?
He instructed me to wrap my arms around her and hug her close while he explained how, even when he was away, he sensed her genuine concern for him.
That was the idea he kept close to his heart as he cautiously made his way through enemy lines, praying for direction and keeping an eye out for explosives.
It was getting close to the time when he might return to the United States, but suddenly an urgent request was made for a volunteer to head a mission that would take them across hostile territory.
There was no doubt in the mind of this courageous warrior as he calmly waved his hand in the air and announced the names of the soldiers he would take.
He had no idea that this mission would be his last, that each of the men who’d already put their faith in him would soon be listed among the dead, or that he would be the one to go down.
I heard the warrior begin to pray, and I caught his final words: “It wasn’t my fault that day; it was just the way war is.”
“Oh Lord, please protect the United States of America and ensure that it continues to be a place where people may exercise their right to vote on issues important to them.
Protecting the liberties of every man, woman, and youngster, they know what’s right on the inside; don’t allow them to be fooled by the words of those who would deny the causes of so many deaths.
Just make sure America understands who is in control or who Her leader should be before you take my life, for the Nation of the Brave and also the Free.”
At that moment, his eyes rolled back into his head and his muscles relaxed on the earth, and I knew I had just held a hero, the likes of whom are seldom seen again.
I hesitated before removing my coat and covering him in the coldness of the dirt, knowing that I would later revisit his death and talk about this man’s merits to loved ones back home.
I spoke softly into the darkness, saying, “America, you’ve witnessed such great men fall; my wish for those still here on earth is that they will stand up for their values.”
Let the worth of those who have been hurt defending your country be measured against the expenditures that have been incurred, and pray for them.
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