Thank you to my dear friend, Barb Lee, for writing a beautiful tribute for Heartland Community Church and allowing me to share it.
My dad was a South Dakota farm boy dropped into the middle of the Philippines to serve in World War 2. He had never been in a plane before, had rarely been out of South Dakota. Scared, uncertain, and unprepared for the things he would experience, he “showed up” to serve his country during a war. He left his family behind–praying for his safe return, fearful as well, and always eager/anxious for news of his well being.
Many of Dad’s experiences were left in the Philippines. Even when we had school projects to interview veterans, Dad refused to talk. War was ugly, its horrors unspeakable; it couldn’t be summed up in a few words. It was not glorious, not exciting. It was pain and sacrifice, fear and confusion.
Nothing has changed. Military service, whether it is National Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines, requires that a person be willing to sacrifice his/her life for others. It is a difficult, committed calling that infringes not just on the life of the soldier but on his/her family, as well. From the Revolutionary War to the recent conflict in Afghanistan, freedom has been won or protected—but at a great cost. Let’s take the opportunity afforded by Memorial Day to thank the LORD for those who have given their lives in the service of this country—as well as the family members whom they left behind.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. John 15:13