Bradford Freeman was just 18 years old when he dropped out of Mississippi State and enlisted in the U.S. Army to become a paratrooper. He was assigned to be a mortarman in Company E, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. The company name rings a bell from the work of author Stephen Ambrose in his bestseller work, and later miniseries, Band of Brothers. The story of Freeman’s unit, Easy Company, has become well-known not only for being paratroopers in the Normandy invasion, Operation Market-Garden, but also for their service in the Battle of the Bulge. Freeman passed away this past weekend. It is notable as his marks the passing of the last of the original members of Easy Company.
The Christian life is described as warfare and all of us soldiers (2 Tim. 2:3-4). The Christian life involves weapons and hardship (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). The Christian life involves holding the line and standing in the might of our Commander (Ephesians 6:10-18). Yet, in the light of Bradford Freeman’s service, it is right for us to think about remembrance of deeds. We might know or remember some of his exploits, some of his fellow-soldiers, and some of the good, but who remembers all he and his brothers did?
We can appreciate that the news media, even with all that is going on, did not fail to give honor to the last American hero from this renowned company. Over time, the stories and service of many who have sacrificed so much, like this man, are lost to time, to records, and are washed away in the ocean of war and duty. Who, indeed, can recount every tale of every soldier who has ever served nobly and given all for the sake of country (John 15:13)?
This thought alone drives me to thankful praise of our God who remembers His faithful servants, not as the media does, but as One who always remembers every faithful soldier and every faithful work (2 Tim. 2:19). Our God-who-sees knows our selfless sacrifices in hard places (Gen. 16:13). Our God who loves us knows every aspect of our faithful service and will reward us with a crown of life once our battle is over (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
I am grateful to those soldiers, who I do not know, who meekly gave themselves so I can live free as an American. However, I am eternally grateful to my Savior who died so I can live free as a Christian. He is the God who knows and does not forget (Rev. 2:8-10)!
Graeber Road church of Christ