Chuck Norris

What many people value brings me back to the wisdom of 19th-century Irish poet and dramatist Oscar Wilde, who said, "Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

Our sincerest gratitude is owed to those serving in the Middle East and Afghanistan, those who have left family and friends to serve abroad. And the real heroes are those who sacrifice everything for the cause of freedom -- ours and others'. We also owe their families our greatest prayers.

With the anniversary of 9/11 on the horizon, we all need to double our efforts to extend our gratitude to them. And don't forget to thank military support groups, such as Give2TheTroops, which sends continual care packages to our service members abroad, and Blue Star Moms, which has posted banners in the hometowns of many of those who presently serve, for example, Gena's nephew Andrew Cox, who is on his second tour in Iraq.

No one likes war, least of all me. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman was right; "war is hell." But Thomas Jefferson was also right; "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

My mother, my younger brother Aaron and I do understand the pain of the families that bear the special grief of losing a loved one on the battlefield. My brother Wieland paid the ultimate price in Vietnam on June 3, 1970. I never will forget when I received the news. I miss him still, all the time.

Wieland had a premonition when he was a teenager that he would not see his 28th year. A few months before his 27th birthday, he was killed. His death didn't make front-page news, either, but his life always will be celebrated in the forefront of our hearts and memories.

My brother fought a foreign war, as many of our service members do today. Despite the political chaos behind Vietnam, I refuse to believe that he died in vain. I also refuse to believe that the thousands of valiant warriors who have given their lives in the Middle East did, as well. Their sacrifices bring reality to Jesus' words: "Greater love has no one than this: that one lay down his life for his friends."

To all of our living service members, we salute you, pray for you and hope for your safe return. But if, by destiny, like my brother Wieland, you should breathe your last breath on the battlefield, rest assured that your sacrifice will not be in vain, for you will have purchased some aspect of someone's future freedom. Your legacy will continue, and you never will be forgotten. Fight the good fight; keep the faith; and press on for the prize!

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Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris is a columnist and impossible to kill.