Posted by: glorifyhim1 | November 8, 2009

Thank You to Our Veterans

 

My husband, Sam, is 61 years old, but let a Vietnam war documentary air on the history channel and he is 20 years old again, the memories forever engraved on his heart and soul. He has never been one to talk much of what he saw and experienced, seemingly content to push all of those memories into a corner of his mind that only those who were there can fully comprehend and understand. Yet, every now and then, he will mention certain things that help to remind me of the sacrifice that every person who chooses to serve in our military makes.

 

Sam was drafted to serve during the Vietnam War, a war that was so unpopular that many in our own nation turned their backs on the men and women who served. He remembers sitting with a group of fellow soldiers in an airport restaurant and being totally ignored until finally another diner created a scene and demanded that the soldiers be served. Instead of respect and honor, many of our veterans during this conflict were maligned and ridiculed.

 

I thought about that this morning in church as we paid honor and respect to all our veterans. I watched a video clip that included service pictures of men and women in our church who had served, many during those dark Vietnam War years. These were pictures of kids, not men and women, although I’m sure they emerged from those war years much more adult than child. I thought about the sacrifices that each of these young people had made as they put aside their dreams and hopes for the horrors of war and the stench of death. It is because of men and women like this down through the years who have put the needs of others ahead of their own – and some who gave their very lives – that we can live as we do today. Just saying thank you seems way too small.

 

Yet during those Vietnam War years, and sometimes still today, we do not give our service men and women honor and respect because we do not believe in the war, or any war. Who would believe in war? The Bible tells us in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” That should be our aspiration, yet notice the clause “if it is possible.” Paul is recognizing that there are those situations when peace is not plausible. What then? First we seek peace and we try to find peaceful solutions to conflicts. But Ecclesiastes 3:8 reminds us that there is “a time of war and a time of peace.”

 

We will have wars whether we believe in them or not because wars are the result of sin in our world. “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.” (James 4:1-2) We will not know true and lasting peace until Christ returns and establishes His kingdom on earth.

 

So what do we do until then? First of all, we pray and look to God for guidance and direction in all things. We are commanded in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 to pray “for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.” We should genuinely seek and pray for peace. Then in 2 Chronicles 7:14, we are told, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Secondly, after praying and doing all we know to do, we rest by trusting in God. “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” (Psalm 33:16-19) And, finally, we bear one another’s burdens. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

 

Those men and women who answer the call of their governments to help protect and defend their nation and innocent and oppressed peoples around the world are bearing the burdens of the weak and afflicted. These burdens are not always easy to bear. They demand sacrifice and can cause pain and suffering for those answering the call as well as for their families and loved ones. That is the call to the rest of us to do our part to support and help those who answer the call. Our support can be as simple as sending a care package to a soldier, or as dedicated as adopting the family of a soldier here at home.

 

There are many ways we can choose to show honor and respect to the men and women who serve our country. On Veteran’s Day this year, whatever else you may do, I challenge you to pray for our service men and women and their families. Pray for our veterans who have served and who may still be dealing with physical injury or emotional trauma resulting from their service. And make an effort to personally thank at least one veteran for the sacrifices that he or she made.

 

If any veterans are reading this …

 

Thank you for your service,

Your sacrifices made,

The price we tend to overlook

That you so willingly paid.

 

Thank you for your courage

To answer our country’s call,

For protecting and defending us,

Quite willing to stake your all.

 

Thank you for each sad goodbye,

For every tear you cried,

For the loneliness and struggles,

Every fear you brushed aside.

 

Thank you for standing up for those

Who could not stand alone,

For cold or hot or sleepless nights

When you dreamed of being home.

 

Words seem so inadequate

To express true gratitude,

But may our country never forget

And may we always honor you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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