“The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” (Jeff Miller)
I have two sons in the military. That statement always gives me pause and sometimes stops my heart. Our eldest son is now a chaplain in the Navy re-enlisting after having served eight years right out of high school, opting to go into the Navy’s nuclear power program instead of college. He left the Navy for marriage and family considerations and, after working and raising a family for about ten years, God called him into the ministry to serve specifically in the Navy.
Our second son chose to enlist after 9/11 and in doing so found his calling in life. His deployment to Iraq was one of the most difficult years I have ever had to face. Even now, the tears well up when I think of that time. The helplessness and fear
of losing my child had become almost debilitating. Every prayer was a plea to bring him home safe. I took every opportunity to ask for prayer on his behalf from my church, family and friends; in fact I had friends around the world sending up prayers on his behalf. Thank you, Lord for answered prayer!
Our oldest son, David, has made a few short trips to Afghanistan during special holy days to celebrate them with the troops. Each time one of my sons goes into harm’s way my heart melts into the comfort of my Lord for if it did not, I coud not function.
I so admire the courage and strength of my daughters-in-law. Women who not only hold themselves together but take care of their kids and keep the home functioning. I really do not know how they manage it. But manage they do. David’s wife, Nora, is my idol. She and David have four sons and yet she is still sane! (Having only 3 sons I know what she contends with on a daily basis). The thing is, the boys not only love
their mom they respect her as well — which is something that you don’t see much of these days. Dulcie, Kevin’s wife, has come into our lives in just the past couple of years. She, too, is a woman of strength who has brought back joy into my son’s life and gives the support my son needs to serve well.
On this Monday we will observe Memorial Day. A variety of public and private rituals and ceremonies will take place to keep alive a memory. We set aside a day to prevent past experiences, people and moments in history from being forgotten. Through the observance of this holiday, we are called to honor and remember those who have given their lives in order that this nation remains free. Above all else we should remember the ultimate sacrifice made by others that keeps us free and causes freedom’s light to burn not only within our hearts but in our national conscience as well. In these days of terrorism and constant war, Memorial Day has become very personal to most Americans for it seems that we all know someone in the service and sadly know a family who suffered the loss of a loved one in service to this country.
“Memory is a tricky thing. There are some things, however, that we should never forget. One of these is the sacrifice that others have made in our behalf.
It was a spring morning in 1866, just after the Civil War had devastated the South. A group of Southerners did something quite extraordinary. They marched down the streets of what was left of their town to a cemetery. There they decorated the graves of the soldiers. All the soldiers, Union as well as Confederate.
The mothers and daughters and widows had buried their dead. Now
they buried their hatred. The time for healing had come. It was the first Memorial Day.
Have you ever wondered why Memorial Day is marked in May? Its date doesn’t recall some historic battle. Or the start of some war. Or the signing of an armistice. Why, then, May?
For a very practical reason. Because it is a time when flowers bloom. Flowers with which to decorate graves.” (King Duncan, Collected Sermons)
I leave you with a few quotes that I found inspiring.
“There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens can not cure.” — Dwight David Eisenhower
“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.” — John F. Kennedy
“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.” — Billy Graham
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” — John F. Kennedy