Freedom Isn’t Free. Pay Your Respects.

My friend, Staff Sergeant Aaron Butler, recently lost his life fighting terror in Afghanistan.
Aaron enlisted in the military when he was just 18 years old,
He took a two year break from serving the country, to serve God as a missionary in Ghana–
Then immediately returned to his duties as a soldier.
Aaron was a patriot in every sense of the word.
He went through intensive torture and training to become an effective weapon for the United States,
Ultimately excelling into a Special Forces Green Beret.
He wholly dedicated his life to protecting one thing… FREEDOM.
Aaron was killed in combat just before his twenty-eighth birthday.
This young man is survived by his father, mother, six brothers, sister and fiancé.
He was a man of dedication, strength, courage, honor, discipline and faith.
He sacrificed ALL for America… and Americans.
A few years ago, my family had the chance to listen to Aaron share his perspective as he was undergoing intensive training.
He related an experience that will always stand as sacred in my mind.
(Because of that, I won’t share much of it..)
Essentially, after he had been tested to the most extreme physical, emotional and mental limits
—imaginable and unimaginable—
Quite literally traveling to hell and back,
He looked up and caught sight of the American flag.
With emotion in his voice, he described the “red, white and blue” as a most stunning and overwhelming sight.
It was the reason he was willing to undergo all the pain, struggle and trauma.
There was no burden too heavy, no price too high, to enlist his all in protecting that flag.
He relentlessly did so until his last dying breath.
Butler was brought home a most decorated and honorable soldier,
His casket adorned by the flag he gave his life for.
In the same breath, we have Americans, who refuse to merely STAND for the national anthem.
They proclaim no respect nor allegiance to this nation and those who have died to protect it.
I can’t begin to express the sadness this brings my soul.
When we can’t stand for the flag, we stand defeated.
No political, cultural or personal belief should ever override the fact that we are AMERICAN.
This is a truth that empowers, connects and sustains us as a nation.
When we honor the flag, we honor our great country and those who have sacrificed ALL to give us liberty.
We, as a people, must remember that FREEDOM ISN’T FREE.
It has cost some of the best blood the world has ever seen.
We, as a people, should be humble and grateful enough, at the very least, to STAND and respect the stars and stripes.
We, as a people, should be able to overlook our differences, assume the best of each other, and join together as “one nation, under God, indivisible”…
So that we might, in a small way, earn our privilege to “liberty and justice for all.”
For Aaron and all our other fallen soldiers,
Let’s be kind of Americans worth dying for.

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