chaplains column

St. John 15:13 reads:

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

Any nation that determines not to be taken over by enemies need citizens who are willing to fight to this end. However, not all people have the courage and fortitude to stand and be counted. Warriors fight for those who cannot or will not.

While every warrior is willing to kill, Marine warriors are willing to both kill and die for what they hold sacred. This breed of warrior is the most cherished because they do not fear their death nearly as much as they fear to lose our freedom.

The warrior’s death has been celebrated throughout all time. In an ancient writing, General Pericles of Athens told his soldiers not to mourn deaths in battle but to celebrate them, because they were the noblest and most glorious of all deaths.

A truly grateful nation deeply recognizes that the warrior’s death served to preserve their very destiny. The warrior has tangibly demonstrated that the values of the United States of America were, indeed, valuable. The lives the nation holds were considered precious enough for a Marine to fight to the death for them. The bravery of a single Marine’s death becomes a living testament of the entire nation’s bravery and resolve to defend our way of life.

A warrior who dies in battle also sends a clear message to our enemies — that many other warriors share the same resoluteness. The sacrifice of a warrior Marine is considered to be the most selfless and the most supreme because the warrior receives nothing in return — at least in this life. While other sacrifices are very good, blood sacrifices are hallowed because they are the costliest.

We, as American citizens, recognize that Marines who fall have willingly laid down their lives for a good greater than themselves. Even among the greatest of philanthropists, the warrior is the most generous. Because of this fighter, people who would have otherwise perished will live. And so, warrior Marines become part of the very fabric of the nation’s identity for their expression of devotion that cannot be matched. Let the worse trespass imaginable for those that benefit from a fallen warrior’s sacrifice is to not place the highest value upon their final contribution.

The death of a warrior is as tragic as it is beautiful. While we mourn their deaths and may cry, our celebration is also a war cry that bursts with pride and honor as we consider the value of their gift to us.

Christians place an exceptionally high value on the Christ-likeness of warrior Marines. While Marines fight earthly battles, the warrior Christ fought and won the war for us and gives us the benefit. His blood sacrifice in death was the costliest. In return, he receives only the satisfaction that we are eternally safe and will live again.