Great Sacrifice (Audio of poem read by its author)

Here is the audio of my reading of the poem, “Great Sacrifice” that I wrote on May 26, 2014.


Great Sacrifice

Many have served,
     this much I know.
But how much honor
     do we really show?
One day a year
     we think of the brave.
Who fought in a war
     that led to their grave.
On yet another,
     we thank those alive.
Who served our great country
     so freedom could thrive. 

But as I consider
     the price that was paid.
The honor returned
     seems quickly to fade.
Do we really care
     the rest of the year?
For a child with no dad
     and a parent’s worst fear?
A son or a daughter
     who paid with their life.
Is the worst kind of news,
     it will cut like a knife. 

Do we stand there with them
     in the days filled with pain?
Or do we run and hide
     when the tears flow like rain?
Do we give of ourselves
     what their loved one cannot?
Or do we walk away
     when the heat gets too hot?
We say we are thankful,
     but does it really show?
To those who have given,
     do they really  know? 

What would it look like
     to honor sacrifice?
It requires our actions,
     beyond, “Oh, that is nice!”.
To simply say, “Thank you.”
     is not nearly enough.
We show our true thanks
     when the going gets rough.
To give of ourselves
     is an honor indeed.
To care for the hurting
     at their point of need. 

It is so very easy,
     when we don’t see a face.
To treat those who gave
     with utter disgrace.
So how will you thank
     those left behind?
Of the one who has died
     so that peace you may find?
To honor those serving,
     from now and the past.
And pray that they know,
     your gratitude will last. 

While we are talking,
     about great sacrifice.
There is One who did die
     while His guards rolled the dice.
He gave His life for me
     so that I could be free.
He bought my redemption
     as He hung on a tree.
The freedom He offers
     is not just for today.
Past, present, and future
     as I follow His way! 

© 2014 by Tom Lemler

As I was thinking about Memorial Day and praying for families who experience pain and emptiness because of the sacrifice a loved one has made, this poem filled my mind.  Because those who serve deserve honor, we have a tendency to merge Memorial Day and Veterans  Day together.  The tragedy isn’t that we give too much honor to those who have served, it is that we often only think about them on one or two days of the year!  The much publicized scandals within our nations Veterans Administration should be an outrage to every American.  But if each of us were to do our part in honoring and remembering every day those who have served, so many of these veterans and their families would be cared for in meaningful ways beyond what can be accomplished by the government.  If we were to truly honor and remember the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us, we would be doing the things that express love and care for our fellow-man.  I pray that our life in Christ would be visible in the way we treat others.

In prayer,