Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen begins his book, Calvary and the Mass, with a brief reflection of "certain things in life which are too beautiful to be forgotten". Among these, he notes, is "The love of soldiers who sacrificed themselves for their country is likewise too beautiful to be forgotten, hence we revere their memory on Memorial Day." In the next sentence, he acknowledges the beautiful life of Christ as "the greatest blessing" ever bestowed upon the world, and goes on to state that "The most sublime act in the history of Christ was His Death." When the Sacrificial Death of Jesus is considered, it makes sense that the Venerable Archbishop highlights the love that enables soldiers to sacrifice their lives for their country rather than the sacrifice alone. Certainly, service members do not sacrifice their lives for their own sake, but for the benefit of others. The benefits are freedom, peace, and the preservation or restoration of that which is good; others refers to their country, fellow service members, and the citizens they defend. The sacrifice of one's life is the most profound act a person can make, not because it is their final act, but because it is the selfless giving up of the dearest gift they have for another. This is why Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13), and gave the greatest and most perfect example of these words as He suffered and died at Calvary.
Regardless of personal opinions about the purpose of any or all wars in which the United States took part throughout our history, our country remains free because of those who fought to protect and defend it. Since we benefit from their service, the least we can do is maintain a regular recollection of their sacrifice of love. As a recommendation, we could offer daily prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of freedom, and pray for the souls of fallen service members, as well as veterans, active-duty members, and their families. Though Memorial Day has come and gone, we always should be mindful of the price of freedom, and, furthermore, we should never, ever take for granted the Ultimate Sacrifice of Jesus, which secured the gift of Eternal Life for those worthy to receive It.