He did not die in a conflict or during active duty. In fact his time in the Corps was long past. The soldier we put in the ground this week was 80 and his nineteen years of service happened many years ago.
We recognized him with a Marine Corps honor guard. Seven Marines performed a 21 gun salute and another played Taps on his bugle. The team crisply folded an American flag and presented to his eldest daughter.
The setting was a stunning fall scene with the trees beginning to show their fire. While contemplating this scene, tears came as I thought about the sacrifice many men and women have made over the years. Sacrifices not just of their lives, but of time away from family, the rigors of military service, the years taken from a career, and the many other things these men and women give in service to us, the citizens of the USA.
During this political season, I remembered that this man we were burying is one of the reasons we have free elections and freedom of speech. We should thank him for the ability to debate issues and the ability to enter a voting booth. Without his service these freedoms might not be available. Although his service happened decades ago, it is directly related to our rights today.
Standing by the grave I reminded the attendees about his service. I also reminded them the grave is not the end. For the believer in Christ there is much hope for the future – for a life after death.
My text was John 11, where Jesus was comforting Mary and Martha about the death of their brother. He said,
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 nkjv)
In response to Jesus’ question Martha said “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Jesus gives the same promise to us today; by believing in Him we can have eternal life.
We put this Marine in the ground today. His life and service on this earth is over. However, the promise of a next life is real.
Thank you and rest well my friend.