This weekend, as we pause to pay tribute to all those who have given their lives in our service, may we remember that the essence of what they did was to act in the place of and preserve the
freedoms given us by God.
We have the freedom to choose what we believe and how we will demonstrate that, to choose where and how we will live our lives, and how we will spend our time and with whom. All of these choices must be made within the bounds of the law of the land
in which we live, but we clearly have a voice in deciding what those laws will be.
In the history of the world, there have only been a very small percentage of people who have enjoyed the freedoms we now enjoy. Most have lived under varying degrees of oppression. I remember very clearly going to see my uncle as he returned from his service in Vietnam. I was young and did not know exactly where he had been or what he'd been doing. I knew he had been at war and that he had been serving those who needed his help. I knew he was doing his part to help preserve the principles of freedom we cherish.
It would be a tragedy if we as a people failed to remember all that God has granted to us in the way of freedom as protected by the men and women who have served and do serve this country.
The service which we render to each other, at any level of commitment, is admirable, particularly when our motives are pure. Preserving the rights and opportunities of another is among the most valued service to be given. The Savior Jesus Christ died, not only to preserve those rights of choice for each of us but to provide the saving grace to enable us to live, as we choose correctly, forever in His presence.
Everyone who serves another by teaching, protecting and caring for them, in whatever capacity, is emulating what it is that the Savior did. We forget a delicious meal nearly as quickly as we become hungry again; most of us pause only occasionally to remember those who have served and died for us; it is easy to forget the sermon when the lights go out and the church doors are closed.
Our Savior Jesus Christ gave his life by serving, teaching, healing and lifting others while he lived, and by dying on the cross so that we might live here and for eternity.
Let us each take opportunity daily to commune with and thank the God who gave us life and all we have in it. By so doing, we will best honor those who emulated Him in dying for us and those who give their lives daily by serving and teaching us in the classrooms, neighborhoods and playgrounds of our lives.
Todd G. Anderson is the second counselor in the Walla Walla Washington Stake Presidency for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.