As we reflect on the sacrifice of so many of our brave men and women, who estimated their lives of such little value, we should realize the enormous price they paid on our behalf. It is hard to imagine that there would be a people more dedicated to the memory of our dead than the American people. However, we now live in a world where it is popular to stomp on our flag and disrespect our veterans. It makes one think that God has allowed us to enjoy freedom too long in this land, that we would hold those who sacrificed for it in such low esteem. But no such attitude is held in the Netherlands.
The Washington Post reports:
For 70 years, the Dutch have come to a verdant U.S. cemetery outside this small village to care for the graves of Americans killed in World War II.
On Sunday, they came again, bearing Memorial Day bouquets for men and women they never knew, but whose 8,300 headstones the people of the Netherlands have adopted as their own.
These Dutch people have found it to be an honor to care for the graves of their liberators. Men and women who were willing to die to liberate people they would never know. These people are dedicated to caring because they know how precious a gift these men died to give them. And they are not alone.
The Post explains:
For the American relatives of the fallen, it was an outpouring of gratitude almost as stunning as the rows of white marble crosses and Jewish Stars of David at the Netherlands American Cemetery. Each grave has been adopted by a Dutch or, in some cases, Belgian or German family, as well as local schools, companies and military organizations. More than 100 people are on a waiting list to become caretakers.
This means that this is not something that lasted for a few years, and then these people forgot about it like many Americans have our own tragedies. These people, out of the gratitude of their hearts, have taken on the responsibility of honoring these dead heroes. And why?
To the Dutch, the Americans were liberators.
The German occupation of the Netherlands had pushed tens of thousands of Dutch men into hiding to avoid being forced to work in German labor camps. Hundreds of Dutch Jews in Margraten and the nearby city of Maastricht were rounded up and sent to concentration camps, said Frans Roebroeks, a board member of the cemetery’s adoption foundation.
You see, these Dutch, Belgium, and German people suffered under tyranny. They did not sit and think about whether or not socialism was a good or bad system; they lived under the horror of a socialist system. And they do not want their children to forget about what it cost to rid them of such horror. They want to remind them that it was so horrible that foreign men and women came and gave all of themselves to free them.
As horrible as Nazi rule was, this was just a symptom of the greatest source of repression known to man. It has had all of mankind enslaved. And just as it took a great sacrifice to rid Holland and the rest of Europe of National Socialism, there was needed an even greater sacrifice to break the occupation that caused National Socialism and other wickedness of man. It is the dead heart that oppress all of mankind under sin.
The great news is that the sacrifice has been once for all given. Hebrews 7:26-28 tells us:
For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
And one day, God willing, He will grant that all men everywhere will repent. So, as we honor our dead, I call on all who read this article to repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.