It must have been both a terrifying and a tender moment when Jesus observed the Passover with His disciples. He opened His heart to them about the betrayal and the crucifixion that was coming. He said to them, “Don’t be troubled, In My Father’s house are many mansions.” We would say rooms today! What Jesus basically said was, “Don’t be afraid; there’s going to be plenty of room in my Father’s house.” It reminds us that the blessings of salvation are for all who believe. He also told us that the greatest gift a man can give is to lay down His life for His friends.

Since the founding of our nation in 1776, more than 660,000 Americans have died in wars to keep us free. All living Americans owe a debt of gratitude to those who have died that we might live in freedom. Hopefully, we will pause in the next few days to remember those who can no longer worship beside us but without whom we might not be able to worship at all. We will also have the opportunity to say thanks to the men and women who wear our nation’s uniforms of all branches, those who have been wounded, and those who came home as our heroes.

In the movie, “We Were Soldiers,” a moving anthem catches this theme:

“To the fallen soldiers, let us sing, where no bullets fly or rockets wing. No more weeping, no more fight, no friends bleeding through the nights. Just Divine embrace, eternal light in the mansions of the Lord.”

Our fallen soldiers gave their lives for us to live in freedom here on earth. All who served pledged their lives. Jesus gave His life that we might live in heaven in the mansions of the Lord. I want to say “thank you” to our living veterans who could have died for me to live and be blessed in this amazing nation. And I want to give thanks for Jesus’ death in my place so that I could live forever in the mansions of the Lord.

I invite you to join me in thanking our heroes and in preparing for the mansions of the Lord. We live in a world where the tyranny of the urgent may often command our attention. Veterans Day gives us an opportunity to pause and remember thankfully those to whom we owe such a debt.

Dr. James E. Kilgore retired as the president of the International Family Foundation Inc. and is a Canton resident.

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