All who have fought to obtain and preserve our liberty are worthy of our most honorable remembrance and our recognition offered with sincerest of gratitude.
Liberty is ultimately founded in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, the captain of our salvation.
Thy name, O Lord, endureth forever; and thy memorial, O Lord, throughout all generations. (Psalm 135:13)
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:9,10)
Jesus is anointed with the Spirit of Lord to preach deliverance to the captives … to set at liberty them that are bruised.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18)
Therefore, where the Spirit of our risen Lord is, there is true and lasting liberty.
Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (II Corinthians 3:17)
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1)
One of the greatest memorials that you and I can offer before God on behalf of those who have fought to preserve our liberty is our prayers and alms for them and their families. Consider, for example, the testimony of a soldier named Cornelius who was recognized for his devotions toward God.
There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band. A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. He saw in a vision evidently, about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter; he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea-side; he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; and when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa. (Acts 10:1-8)
Note how the Lord sent a messenger to Cornelius who told him that “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.” God remembered and blessed this man in multiple ways. Because God had respect for Cornelius’ prayers and alms, as evidenced by His remembrance of them, we can be confident that the Lord worked through them to greatly benefit others. Of the greatest importance, God blessed Cornelius and his household with a saving knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ.
Another soldier who fought valiantly for the liberty of his people was Chief Captain Moroni. He did not merely raise the standard (title) of liberty for his people, Moroni fought for their liberty by defending their rights and freedoms against the agressors.
Thus we see how quick the children of men do forget the Lord their God; yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be led away by the evil one; yea, and we also see the great wickedness one very wicked man can cause to take place among the children of men; Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning devices, and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; Yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land, for the righteous’ sake.
And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah. And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it, In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children; and he fastened it upon the end of a pole thereof. And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat (and he called it the title of liberty), and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren so long as there should be a band of Christians remain to possess the land; for thus were all the true believers of Christ, who belonged to the church of God, called, by those who did not belong to the church; and those who did belong to the church, were faithful; Yea, all those who were the true believers in Christ, took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians, as they were called, because of their belief in Christ, who should come; and therefore, at this time, Moroni prayed that the cause of the Christians, and the freedom of the land might be favored.
And it came to pass that when he had poured out his soul to God, he gave all the land which was south of the land Desolation: yea, and in fine, all the land, both on the north and south, a chosen land, and the land of liberty. And he said, Surely God shall not suffer that we, who are despised because we take upon us the name of Christ, shall be trodden down and destroyed, until we bring it upon us by our own transgressions. (Alma 21:37-47)
As we remember those who have served in the defense of our country and our liberty, let us honor them by honoring and defending the liberty for which they fought to preserve. Let us lift high the title of liberty in the cause of Christ who came to set us free from darkness and to bring us into the glorious liberty of His kingdom. Let us serve our fellow countrymen through devoted prayers and alms like Cornelius while we exercise faith like Moroni.
And thus he [Moroni] was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians. And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery; Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people: Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath, to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.
Now the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies, even to the shedding of blood, if it were necessary; Yea, and they were also taught never to give an offense; yea, and never to raise the sword, except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives; And this was their faith, that by so doing, God would prosper them in the land; or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of God, that he would prosper them in the land; yea, warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger; And also that God would make it known unto them, whither they should go to defend themselves against their enemies; and by so doing, the Lord would deliver them, and this was the faith of Moroni; And his heart did glory in it; not in the shedding of blood, but in doing good, in preserving his people; yea, in keeping the commandments of God; yea, and resisting iniquity.
Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken for ever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men. Behold, he was a man like unto Ammon, the son of Mosiah, yea, and even the other sons of Mosiah; yea, and also Alma and his sons, for they were all men of God. Now behold, Helaman and his brethren were no less serviceable unto the people, than was Moroni; for they did preach the word of God, and they did baptize unto repentance, all men whosoever would harken unto their words. (Alma 21:131-142)