No Greater Love
By Hal Lindsey
The screen shows images of a little girl. She smiles and laughs, obviously enjoying her conversation with the man behind the camera. Later we learn that he joked around with and gave candy to lots of children like her. Everything about the exchange tells you that the man is someone special — warm, caring, thoughtful.
Then we see the TV anchorman and he identifies the man as United States Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui. We are seeing the footage and hearing his story because the Lance Corporal died soon after his interaction with the Afghan child.
Kareem Nikoui did not die alone. At least 169 Afghan civilians lost their lives in the same terror attack. In addition to Kareem, American military personnel who died that day include, Navy Corpsman Max Soviak, 22… Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss, 23… Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Darin Hoover Jr., 31… Marine Corps Sergeant Johanny Pichardo, 25… Marine Corps Sergeant Nicole Gee, 23… Marine Corps Corporal Hunter Lopez, 22… Marine Corps Corporal Daegan Page, 23… Marine Corps Corporal Humberto Sanchez, 22… Marine Corps Lance Corporal David Espinoza, 20… Marine Corps Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, 20… Marine Corps Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum, 20… Marine Corps Lance Corporal Dylan Merola, 20.
In addition, 150 people were injured, including 18 US military personnel.
The news media will soon forget Kareem and the others. The broadcasters and bloggers will soon go on to something else. But their families will not forget. They will carry pain from August 26, 2021, for the rest of their lives. They will also carry the joyful memories of those they loved, gone too soon.
These are not just names on a list. Each one is precious beyond words, made in God’s image — men and women for whom Christ died.
In John 15:12-13, Jesus said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
Jesus Himself is the ultimate example of the selfless love He taught. But each of these young people also expressed this great love. They expressed it with their lives, and they expressed it in their deaths.
The first American to die in the Afghanistan war was Nathan Chapman on January 4, 2002. When they were loading his coffin to be transported back to the United States, they realized that no one had an American flag. So, to place on the coffin, they used a flag patch torn off the uniform of an airman who was helping load it.
With practice — too much practice — they would get better with the details. In twenty years of war, 3,576 coalition forces would die — 2,420 of those from the United States. Approximately 20,000 members of the American military would be wounded.
Many of those wounded, along with the loved ones of the dead, keep on paying a terrible price. But as David would say shortly before his battle with Goliath, “Is there not a cause?”