The Ultimate Sacrifice. What is it?
Is it giving up your life for a friend? For a loved one? For a nation? For a cause?
Curious, on this Memorial Day, May 27th, 2013, I decided to look up the term online. Thus speaks Urban Dictionary:
- To give everything you have to save someone or something that you hold most dear. Requires that you give yourself, in order to provide them sanctuary. Trading your own life for the lives of many would be an example of the Ultimate Sacrifice.
- The Ultimate Sacrifice is an extremely patriotic & heroic devotion to one’s country, particularly in the United States of America.
Death, especially for a cause or for one’s country.
I don’t know about you; but, in light of the Ultimate Sacrifice, any sacrifice I’ve ever made pales by comparison.
- I’ve missed some sleep nursing babies in the middle of the night.
- I’ve missed a social event or two or three in order to get my work done.
- I’ve skipped some mouth-watering desserts in order to trim my waistline.
I think that’s about it.
I come from a long line of army and navy officers. Gratefully, only one member paid the Ultimate Sacrifice — my great great (great?) uncle who died in 1918 during the World War One flu epidemic shortly after his graduation from the United States Naval Academy (USNA).
God rest his soul.
My father, a Pearl Harbor survivor, served our country for 30 years as a naval officer; my brother for 20; my daughter just completed her third-year at USNA. My role thus far has been to support and encourage and love them and to be supported and encouraged and loved by them — not exactly a hardship.
I looked up Ultimate Sacrifice online because, though I know what it means in my head, I don’t know what the Ultimate Sacrifice feels like in my heart. The definitions didn’t begin to describe the heartbreak, the pain, the loss of the grieving survivors.
You know what I should have done instead?
- I should have called my friend Dave whose son was killed by “friendly” fire. I bet he could have told me.
- I should have called my friend Shannon whose husband was killed by enemy fire. I bet she could have told me.
- I should have called my friend Kris who lost her dad in Viet Nam. I know she could have told me.
The Ultimate Sacrifice. To put yourself at risk … to offer your life for many … to serve rather than to be served.
There is no greater love than this—that a man should lay down his life for his friends. ~John 15:13
Do I have what it takes to offer the Ultimate Sacrifice for my friends, my country, my loved ones, as a civilian? I pray that I do.
I pray I’d have the faith and courage of third-grade teacher Julie Simon in Moore, OK, who ushered her students into a closet and shielded them from the wrath of last week’s deadly, record-making tornado.
I pray I’d have the faith and courage of Corrie ten Boom who hid Jews in her home in Holland to protect them from certain annihilation.
I pray I’d have the faith and courage required to offer up the Ultimate Sacrifice, by the grace of God, for friends and strangers alike.
On this Memorial Day, May 27th, 2013, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you to the wives and husbands and mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and fiancés and fiancéés of those who have given their all so that others, like me, may live free.
And, of course, thank you, thank you to those who made the Ultimate Sacrifice themselves.
We remember you.
With Love, Admiration, Respect, and Gratitude,