So I was sitting here thinking about a story I heard this weekend, about a 19-year-old soldier being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Posthumously. He was serving in Iraq, and died when he threw himself onto a live grenade in order to save his fellow soldiers.
I couldn’t help it. For some reason hearing about this particular soldier really struck a chord with me. We were praying for him in church last night. I nearly burst into tears. And I couldn’t figure out why – it’s not like I knew him or anything. I certainly do empathize with the sacrifices our military men and women make in the line of duty, but I was almost overwhelmed by emotion just hearing about this particular loss. Maybe it was because he was merely a year or two older than some of my high school students.
And then while I was trying to figure out what was making me so upset over this story, I started thinking about this young man himself. Wondering what prompted him to throw himself onto that grenade. Did he know he was going to die? Was it a conscious choice? Or merely a conditioned response, an act triggered by his military training? I would like to think that he consciously, willingly gave his life for those around him. I guess that’s why I’m an optimist, as I’m certain many of my friends would vote for the “conditioned response” argument.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
God bless our soldiers and their families. May we never take their love for granted.