Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Heroes: My Older Brothers

There are some events in life that are so significant, you use them to measure time. There is the time before the event, and then the time after the event. One such event happened in my family four years ago. It was a usual beautiful summer day in my hometown, I was at work delivering pizzas and as I was just about to leave to take a delivery, my uncle comes into the restaurant and pulls me aside. He says, "Alex, you need to go to Grandpa's and Grandma's as soon as you can, you're mom sent me find you. Nathan's been killed." My world seemed to stop at that moment. 
Nathan Winder

When my brother Nathan was about two years old, my parents adopted him from a Korean orphanage. He became a citizen of the United States soon after that and following graduation from high school, he joined the army and served his adopted country with all of his heart. In January 2007, soon after finishing medic school, Nathan was deployed to Iraq.

I don't know a lot about the politics of the Middle East, and I am terrible at keeping up with the current events of what goes on over there, but I do know that my brother believed in what he did there. I know that he cared for the people that he worked with, both those that served a long side him, and those they worked to help. Soldiers have always been special to me, simply because they are willing to sacrifice so much, and a lot of times, it is for people they don't even know.

As I think about the tragic death of my brother, it helps me, in some small way, comprehend the atonement of the Savior. Jesus Christ is our older brother. Though we may not know him personally, he knows us, and loves us. He gave his precious life for our freedom, not the freedom that our soldiers have fought and died for, but a greater freedom from death and sin. Because of the Savior, I know that I will be able to see my brother again.  In Alma 7:11-13 it says

11. And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
13. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

 As Alma, I have a testimony that these things are true. Jesus Christ lives, and he has done all of this for us. He has suffered everything we could ever feel, and he is there to help (or succor) us with our own suffering. I have felt His love for me several times, and never more than when I felt the ache of Nathan's death. I am grateful for the ultimate sacrifice of my brother, that those in Iraq may have the chance at freedom, and also for his service to this country.

We celebrate the freedom we are blessed with each year on the Fourth of July, because of these men and women that have given their blood for our freedom and our rights. It's my hope that it's not just once a year that we remember and celebrate the freedom that Jesus Christ has given us, that we will use the atonement and not let His sacrifice and suffering for us go to waste.

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