Growing up, I knew little about my great-grandfather's time in World War I. Sadly, I never had the chance to meet him, as he passed away before I was born. I do not know much about his wartime experiences, other than I know he survived a mustard gas attack at the Battle of Ypres. Despite not knowing much of my great-grandfather's experience, one thing is clear: like many others, he willingly endured the horrors of war to defend the cause of freedom.
On Remembrance Day, we honour those who have served in the armed forces, making profound sacrifices in times of war and conflict. It's a day to remember and pay tribute to the soldiers and civilians who have lost their lives in service to their countries, and to reflect on the significance of their sacrifices for the cause of freedom and peace. We recognize the courage, bravery, and dedication of those who served and sacrificed for the greater good.
In our reflections, we remember the ideal we strive to honour: that every human soul's inherent worth and dignity transcends the boundaries of race, creed, culture, background, beliefs, or heritage. We must remember, and never forget, that the worth of a soul, a single soul, is great in the sight of almighty God (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10).
As I reflect on my great-grandfather's service and the sacrifices he and countless others have made, it is evident that not everyone recognizes the worth of a soul. Moreover, our freedom and individual liberties are far from guaranteed. While some argue that certain rights, including individual liberty and freedom, are inherent and should be universally granted, the reality is that this hasn't been the case for most of human history. True liberty and freedom have always demanded sacrifice – to attain and to maintain.
In recognizing the blessings of independence, liberty, and the freedom we enjoy today, we remember that these are precious gifts. They should not be taken lightly or assumed as permanent fixtures of our lives. Instead, they are gifts that require our vigilance and commitment to safeguard.
Cherishing and protecting our freedoms is not merely a personal responsibility but a collective duty we owe to those who came before us and future generations. Understanding the cost of our freedom should invoke a profound sense of gratitude on our part. Remembrance Day serves as a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by countless individuals, prompting us to reflect on our commitment to a cause larger than ourselves.
Rembering the ultimate sacrifice to bring about the ultimate freedom
During our reflections, let us also acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice that transcends time and place—the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His selfless act of redemption is the pinnacle of all sacrifices, offering hope, forgiveness, and the promise of eternal life to humanity.
Christ's sacrifice surpasses all others in its significance and magnitude. Do we understand that Christ's gift of redemption extends to everyone, including His enemies? Do we recognize ourselves in His sacrifice, not only as the redeemed but also as the cause of Christ's suffering and death? Despite our being the cause of His suffering, we hear Him say, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). His redemption is an extraordinary demonstration of love and selflessness. His sacrifice has delivered us from death and hell. Is this not ultimate freedom?
In the face of division, strife, and opposition, it is clear that God has allowed us to exist in a society where inequality and disparities persist. Yet, despite these challenges, He commands us to strive for unity (Doctrine and Covenants 38:26-27). True unity can only be realized through the practice of humility, courage, faith, hope, and charity. The path to becoming one is a transformative journey that will change each one of us.
This call to unity reminds us that Christ's sacrifice redeems us individually and unites us collectively. It's a reminder that true freedom is rooted in our ability to overcome differences and work on ourselves as we strive to become like Christ.
Remembrance Day prompts us to reflect on the unwavering commitment of countless individuals to a cause larger than themselves. We remember those who sacrificed for our freedom, but we must also not forget the ultimate hero—Jesus Christ—whose unparalleled sacrifice has offered us true freedom in this life and the future.
His sacrifice for our spiritual freedom goes beyond boundaries and divisions, encompassing all humanity. Are we not called to follow in His footsteps, unite, and embrace the ultimate liberty and eternal life His sacrifice offers?