The gray uniform of the Confederacy hung in the display case in the Civil War museum. The left leg had been cut away high above the knee. Nearby was a picture of the soldier who had worn the uniform. Only nineteen years of age, his face was almost child-like. His stature was slender and boyish.
How his mother’s heart must have ached as she hugged her son and said, “Good-bye.” Her burning desire was to hold on to him and prevent him from leaving the relative safety of their simple country home. But she knew she had to release him to do what he believed was his duty.
The young man’s father stood nearby; hands in pockets and his head bowed low. He wanted to tell his son how much he loved him, but the words could not push past the lump sticking in his throat. Finally, he thrust out his hand and clasped his son’s hand…firmly, but yet gently. His grasp spoke of the love he could not speak.
Then off marched the son, along with others of his small village. Mom and Dad watched the road until he was long out of sight. Then, gathering up the broken pieces of their hearts, they returned home to resume a semblance of living.
Far away, battles raged. Often brother fought against brother; each man believing his convictions were the right ones. Then came the battle of Chancellorsville. Robert E. Lee led the Confederacy against the Union. Dressed in his grey woolen uniform, the nineteen year old joined his comrades in fighting the enemy. But a bullet found its mark, shattering the young man’s thigh.
Taken to a makeshift operating room, his leg was amputated. The surgery was futile. After much pain and endless suffering, the young soldier died. Mom and Dad would wait hopelessly for their son to return home.
Now, the uniform hanging in the museum is mute evidence of the tragedies of war and of homes torn apart by battles.
Throughout the history of America, wars have been fought to gain and to preserve our freedom. Many men and women have given their lives in order to insure that our liberty will remain. Others have suffered injuries and will carry the result of these throughout their lives. The sacrifices have been numberless throughout the history of our beautiful land. We are thankful and indebted to each of these individuals.
As Christians celebrate on the Fourth of July, we are blessed with two kinds of freedom. Not only do we observe our country’s independence, we can also be thankful for the freedom Jesus Christ gives. Because of his suffering, dying and resurrection, we have been given an eternal freedom that can never be taken away.
As our families gather for picnics and cookouts, fireworks and parades, may we pause to give heartfelt thanks to those who have sacrificed for America’s freedom and to Jesus Christ for his sacrificial gift of spiritual freedom.
Norma C. Mezoe began writing after a crisis in her life. She has been a published writer for thirty years. Her writing has appeared in books, devotionals, take-home papers and magazines. She lives in the tiny town of Sandborn, Indiana where she is active in her church as clerk, teacher and bulletin maker. Contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org