O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!…

-Lyrics by Francis Scott Key, The Star Spangled Banner


Over four million people annually visit the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.  Reports say that over 290,000 men and women who did battle to defend freedom are buried there.  I would assume for a good many that make the trip to Arlington—they do so to visit the final resting place of a dear loved one or even a distant relative.  I have driven by the massive cemetery that sits on the banks of the Potomac River while making a late night visit to the Pentagon with a friend on duty there—looking back now I only wish I would have taken the time to visit the cemetery myself.  

When I see a soldier’s casket on television or hear about a brave soul who has been wounded serving in my country’s military I often stop to consider the blood that was shed in order to make it possible for me and hundreds of millions of others to enjoy the benefits of living in a free society.  Have you ever wondered how much blood has been spilled so that you don’t have to be subject to the wraps of oppression but can instead live free?   

So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!   (Romans 6:15-18, The Message Bible)

The ring of true freedom is no more clearly heard than among those who have been truly set free.