September 11, 2015

Expressing Gratitude on 9/11

Written By Cary Schmidt

The events of 9/11 drew our country into not just a “new war” but a “new kind of war.” That day was a catalyst that sent many into harm’s way over the past 14 years to preserve our safety and freedom.

Yesterday, I had the unusual and unexpected privilege to sit and speak with one of these men who has personally, courageously, and valiantly fought to make my life and family safer. There was much about his service that he could not share, but what he did share was humbling to me.

He is one of many, but he alone has served at great cost to himself and those he loves. He has risked his life in operations all over the world. He has sacrificed in ways I will never understand. Every moment of every day his mind is in a state of vigilance that only a soldier would comprehend. While at this moment he is away from the field, he simply wants to get back into it.

He has a right to multiple lifetimes of peace and safety for himself and his loved ones… but he wants to continue protecting us.

As I spoke with him, I was reminded that the freedom I enjoy in my relatively peaceful and blessed life comes at great cost, not only historically, but in the present!  Many have given their lives, but many still give their lives every day to defend freedom.

America is a wonderful country because of great men and women like this. America is a blessed country, where we are still free to pursue our dreams, love our families, and serve our Savior. All over the world in the present, and throughout history, Christians have been persecuted. Yet, in America, while the mainstream media reminds us continually how “bad” things are, in the grand scope of history, things have rarely, if ever, been “this good.”

As my conversation with this man concluded, I shook his hand, and said, “Thank you for serving for me and my family.” Frankly, the words felt trivial in contrast to his story and his sacrifice. The words seemed to barely begin to express the debt of gratitude I feel toward him.

Because of 9/11, his life was altered, never to be the same. Because of him, my life was protected and allowed to remain the same. It reminds me a lot of the gospel and the grace of Jesus to me—He expended himself in suffering that I might be eternally folded into the safety of His eternal love and grace!

A good way to remember 9/11 may be to find an American who has served for our safety and simply, humbly say “Thank you.”

Their sacrifice is very real. Their pain endures in personal and life-altering ways. Our lives are relatively peaceful and our freedom endures, because of what they are still willing to endure every day.

So, yes… we remember. And WOW, are we GRATEFUL!!!