Home > Loose Change > Sacrifice and Personal Benefit

Sacrifice and Personal Benefit

By definition sacrifice is not easy.  It costs you something of value.  Most of our sacrifices are made with an expectation of some benefit at the end.  Without a reward, it seems like an exercise in futility.

No sacrifice is easy, but easiest one to make is when you expect some personal benefit in exchange for your efforts.  You may forego certain foods, pay money at a gym and spend your time exercising.  All of these cost you time and money, but the prospect of healthy and fit body make it worthwhile.

The next easiest sacrifice to make is one made for someone you love and care about.  Parents make sacrifices on a daily basis for their children, yet they do it willingly and happily, because they love their kids and want them to have a better life.  Although you may not personally benefit, it’s worth it to see someone you love reap the rewards.

The most difficult sacrifice to make is the one you make for someone you don’t even know; to lay down your life for a cause you believe in without any benefit to you or our family.  This describes the sacrifice that so many of our soldiers have made serving our country.  Thousands of soldiers gave up their lives on behalf of complete strangers.

Consequently,  Memorial Day should be more than just another day off from work, a long weekend or the unofficial start of summer.  Memorial Day ought to be the day we honor the soldiers who died during military service.  They, and their families, made the ultimate sacrifice obtaining, securing and defending our freedoms.

For many of them, they sacrificed their lives with no personal benefit.  Now… don’t’ read what I’m not writing.  I’m not suggesting that they died in vain, nor were their lives cut short for no reason.  On the contrary… they made a tremendous sacrifice for someone else’s benefit… not their own.

Their names may be inscribed on a Memorial somewhere, but most of those who gave their life are not known or recognized outside of their family and friends.  A certificate and impeccably folded flag may be all that a family has to acknowledge the sacrifice they made.  Few of them received a Silver Star, Medal of Honor, were buried at Arlington National Cemetery or will have their names recorded in the annals of history for their acts of bravery.  Yet, everyone who gave their life committed a great act of bravery.

I would even posit that those who are relatively unknown made a sacrifice with no personal benefit.   It’s amazing when you consider the number of men and women who have given their lives in a rather anonymous way.  Their sacrifice should be highly honored.  You can honor them any day, but Memorial Day is a special time when we as a nation honor those who sacrificed with no personal benefit.

Celebrate Memorial Day… and take a few minutes to remember and honor the people you will never know who sacrificed their lives for you and I.

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