The price of freedom is visible here...

The visible price of freedom....

Multiple parking spaces close to the front door were reserved for patients with spinal cord injuries and dozens of empty wheelchairs were lined up in rows outside the entrance. Just inside the doors, security guards checked photo IDs before we could enter.

Passing security, we stepped into a large atrium crowded with visitors and veterans of all ages. Amputees on crutches or in motorized wheelchairs weaved through the crowds and down the hospital halls – bringing to life the words engraved on the black marble slab at the entrance to the hospital grounds:

The Price of Freedom is Visible Here

Not war-wounded, but clinging to life with a liver damaged by a soul-sick addiction, our friend Nick in the ICU was treated with extraordinary respect and compassion. "If a member of the hospital staff enters my brother’s room and meets him for the first time, they greet him with affection and thank him for his service to our country,” his sister explained. 

I was impressed. In all the years I practiced nursing, I can't remember a single time that I was physically affectionate in greeting a new patient.

The price of freedom was indeed visible in the broken hearts and bodies in every hallway, elevator, and waiting room, but so was gratitude for the sacrifice - expressed in the love, respect and compassion the hospital staff showed toward those who sacrificed for the freedoms we celebrate today.  

It was but a glimpse of how I should live every day - the price of freedom in Christ visible in this place - in how I love and live with gratitude and affection for the sacrifice.
 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV
{Edited from an archived guest post at (in)courage}