I can’t get through the national anthem without tearing up. It started long ago when I watched Dan Jansen on the podium. Yes, I had a crush on my hometown’s speed skating hero, but it was more about his journey to the gold.
Now that I’m older, my reasons are less schoolgirlish. I know people who have died while serving, and I think of those left behind. I see children singing the anthem and wonder which of them might volunteer their life for the rest of us. I cry because I realize that my nation’s flag has draped countless caskets of those who sacrificed so my nation would be free.
I cry at Easter hymns for many of the same reasons. My Savior Jesus tells me that he is my (and your) Good Shepherd who “lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). He came as a servant, sacrificing his life so that we can all be free for all eternity.
The United States has set aside a day to honor those who died while securing our country’s freedom. After a moment of respect for them, the best thing you can do with the freedom they’ve gained for you is to share the good news about the One who laid down his life for them. They gain nothing if they sacrifice their lives for our country but don’t know that Jesus sacrificed his life for theirs.