In her response to this post from last week, Lydia McGrew makes an important distinction. I had talked about the need to be willing to die for some (few and exceptionally important) things, and she pointed out that actually, you don't seek death, quite the contrary, but you're willing to risk it if needed.
I'm reminded of the story of Mike Strank, told with great empathy in James Bradley's Flags of Our Fathers, which I read a while ago and ought to review here if I find the time. Frank was a Marine squad leader, who trained his men to kill and prepared them to be willing to be killed if necessary, but who's main and constant refrain was that if they did as he was training them and leading them, he'd do his best to get as many of them back to their mothers as possible. He himself - and some of them - died on Iwo Jima.
I'm not certain the Marines in WWII are the best possible example of what I'm trying to say, following Lydia's comment, but the idea is simultaneously quite simple and endlessly complex: in a sane and just society, we don't want anyone to have to give their lives for anyone or anything, because what is there that is more precious than life. Yet at the same time there are values, or people, or things in life, that are more precious than life itself. In order to align those two concepts, we sometimes risk our lives - in the hope that we won't have to pay with them; indeed, we go to great efforts to ensure that our lives won't be lost... while simultaneously consciously endangering them because we must.