John 15:13-Jesus said…
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends..”
No man or woman goes into our Armed Forces for the money. Sure, they are enticed by great recruiters with education grants and the glory of it all; but they know, or at least they think they know, what they are getting into.
Today, they have seen enough television to see the devastation that serving and war has on a soldier today. Back in the days of WWI and WWII, many signed up lying about their age to get in and serve without the ideas of war we have today. Their only visions of war were old war movies and the few news reels at the beginning of many old movies.
Many of the men in my family served in the Armed Forces. Many of them have gone on now, but they left a legacy of serving others throughout all their lives. I had two great uncles who were brothers and served in WWII and the Korean War, and a grandfather who served as a pilot. My father and step-father both served in Vietnam, and my great grandfather served in WWI. After their successful tours, they all went on to serve again in the local Fire Department, VFW lodges, and churches while they worked hard to take care of their perspective families. Not a single one of them ever regretted serving this great nation. These are the unsung heroes who built this nation.
My uncle used to tell us humorous stories about his old combat days and never really shared the horrors that my aunt said would haunt him at night. He would say to us, “there are no atheists on the combat field” because he could hear those hardened combat soldiers pray at night for just another day.
We still do not discuss the Vietnam War with my step-father and father. They will not speak of what they went through. That is just how they deal with the memories. They keep them under the lock and key of their hearts to this day. It is a shame really. I will never know what they went through or how they managed to survive. I only know they went because of the old faded service pictures on the wall.
They watched as their friends died, knowing their bodies are still lying on some battlefield somewhere and as some in flag draped coffins slide on to the airport hangar awaiting their grieving families. These brave soldiers did not risk life and limb for nothing; they did it for you and me. They lead by example. They faced fear, they stood proud, and they would do it again in a heartbeat.
This is what Memorial Day meant to me. In somber remembrances of those who have lost their lives, and respectful patronage to those still here, I raise my flag, lay my hand over my heart, and salute you as I thank God for you all. “Semper Fi & Non Sibi Sed Patriae”
Photo credit: terrellaftermath