Many communities scattered across Canada have a special place to help residents remember the sacrifice made during times Canada was involved in war. At the very least a community might have something that resembles a monument with engraved names on it. These monuments might include a soldier dressed up in military gear. Some places have aircraft, tanks, cannons, or machine guns set up for display.

Behind all of these memorials are countless stories of bravery. One example of legendary bravery was a Canadian First Nations man by the name of Tommy Prince. From Manitoba, he joined the Royal Canadian Engineers at age 24. He was sent to England soon after but, in his words, got “tired of drinking tea” so he joined what is known as “The Devil’s Brigade” in 1942.

One of Tommy’s comrades describes his skill this way:

“He used to carry a pair of moccasins in his bag with him. He would never tell anyone where he was going, but would just slip away in the night. The Germans thought he was a ghost or a devil. They could never figure out how he passed the lines and the sentries. He was deathly quiet. Instead of sneaking in and killing them, he would steal something, like a pair of shoes right off their feet. Or he would leave articles behind, like a calling card, just to let them know he had been there... They didn’t believe that Prince could be real, so they figured he must be an evil spirit or better yet the devil.”

The sad thing about Sergeant Thomas Prince is that, although he was one of Canada’s most decorated non-commissioned officers, he was largely forgotten. Alcohol became his go-to. He spent his last days in a small, sparsely furnished room in the Salvation Army’s Social Service Centre in Winnipeg, his medals either pawned or lost, his spirit damaged beyond repair.

There are so many untold stories of bravery from Canadians who felt it was their duty to fight for the freedom that we currently enjoy. The one word that captures every story is “sacrifice” and sacrifices like that should be remembered.

There is another memorial visible in communities across Canada. Every community has them. People wear them on t-shirts or around their necks. They appear on steeples and on the walls of homes. This sign is a memorial to commemorate the greatest battle in human history. It’s the battle that was waged against sin and death. The same word also describes the details of this amazing true-life story. Sacrifice.

The cross is a symbol, a memorial, to help us remember the battle Jesus fought on our behalf, the sacrifice He made. He didn’t use guns, or armor, or bombs, or sword. In fact, on the cross, he was stripped of every scrap of clothing and faced the enemy completely naked. He fought our battle for us with His own precious blood. A sacrifice like that should be remembered!

This year, when you remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom we enjoy, remember, also, that Jesus made an even greater sacrifice.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends” (John 15:13). Are you Jesus’ friend?