By Chaplain (Capt.) Jose Rondon
Special to GUIDON
Would I die for this great nation of fallen heroes?
4,435 Soldiers died during the American Revolution. World War I and World War II saw 53,402 and 291,557 deaths, respectively. 94,794 died during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
While the Persian Gulf War left us with 383 American Soldiers dead, many of us vividly remember those comrades who died in the wars of Iraq (4,412) and Afghanistan (2,351). “Freedom is not free.” These fallen heroes of past and present generations fought for ideals and convictions, but above it all, for the idea of freedom.
As a chaplain, I provide my Soldiers with the best religious support that brings care, comfort, confidence, and courage to their souls. I also go to war with my Soldiers, which could potentially end my life. Yet, there is meaning in freedom and there is freedom in love.
I was not born in the U.S.; rather, I was born in Caracas, Venezuela.
In 1992, I came to this great land to play baseball. I discovered this nation had great people who welcomed and loved me as one of their own. I came to marry a beautiful lady from Greenville, South Carolina and we have two children. In 2010, I became an American citizen because, after 9/11, I was convinced that God’s calling upon my life was best fulfilled through the Army to show our Soldiers that “freedom is not free.”
John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” I always think of this most wonderful God who came to the world to liberate us from the powers of sin and Satan, and from the consequences of eternal separation in hell. Jesus was, is, and will always be the epitome of our brave Soldiers because he died for us to set us free.
As I remember all of our fallen heroes from the past and the present with solemn respect, I am grateful for Jesus and his great love for us. Freedom is indeed not free and love is liberating. We will never forget our heroes who, though fallen, still live in our hearts.