So I got my first request! From the word “go” I have welcomed your comments about the blog or suggestions for topics. My dear father-in-law told me as Veteran’s Day approached, he would like me to blog about our military.
“Uh-oh!” I thought. “That’s something I hold sacred. What if I don’t do it justice?” To add insult to insecure injury, my father-in-law is a retired colonel. I deeply love, honor and respect this man and the career he dedicated to serving our country. I’m just starting out here – am I ready for this topic?
Well, when in doubt, pray. So I did. And here goes:
Did you know that less than 1% of the population is serving in our military today as compared to 9% that were wearing a uniform in World War II? According to a New York Times article, written by Sabrina Tavernise, “…the result is, there is a growing generation gap, with younger Americans far less likely than older ones to have a family member who served.” So what? According to Tavernise, “The result is a military far less connected to the rest of society, a condition that some academics have said might not bode well for the future of military-civilian relations (the military is run by civilians). Others have warned that less connection between the military and the rest of society could lead to less-informed decisions about whether to go to war, because conflicts and the people who fight them are not part of most people’s everyday lives.”
“What we have is an armed services that’s at war and a public that’s not very engaged,” said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center. “Typically when our nation is at war, it’s a front-burner issue for the public. But with these post-9/11 wars, which are now past the 10-year mark, the public has been paying less and less attention.”
Let’s pay attention today. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to paint a picture of the heroes I esteem them to be. This week I read a fabulous article written by a former Navy Seal Pete Schobell that spoke of a soldier’s heart. He writes, “All political drama aside, the piece of [the Benghazi] story I choose to hang onto has nothing to do with the finger pointing…Men sacrificed themselves for one another and for their country. What kind of a man, in the face of overwhelming odds, knowingly and freely lays down his life for the man next to him? Glen Doherty and Ty Woods did just that.” He goes on to say, “They did what every warrior would have done. They stood between the sheep and the wolves. It was the right thing to do.”
That was it – my picture of our military. A hero’s heart coupled with the bravery of the Holy Spirit. Someone whose life is at stake every time they step up to bat, but still possess the ability and discernment to do the right thing despite the grave circumstances surrounding them. They are the literal “cream” that rises above the muck of the situation they didn’t ask to be thrown into.
From what I’ve witnessed and in my mind’s eye, all branches of our military have a brotherhood and I categorize it as divine. To the naked eye, they are just ordinary men and women. They have fears, insecurities and limitations like we do. But God our Almighty Father covers them with a blanket of courage, strength and David and Goliath odds in their favor in order to accomplish the important work He needs done.
The Holy Gospel reading on Sunday was from the Beatitudes and I think many reflect my image of our service men and women. I have selected a few here:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are the persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
I also had the honor of accompanying Troy to a Wounded Warrior fund raiser this week. What I saw was a room filled with trustworthy servants of God. The men I met were humble souls, decent men whose love for country helped cushion the blow to the physical challenges they now face. But the willingness to lay down their lives obediantly, many times for a people who weren’t even grateful for the price they would pay, joyfully and mournfully reminds me of Christ Jesus.
Our Lord never drove a tank or carried an automatic weapon, flew a helicopter or steered a submarine, but Jesus knew He would pay the ultimate price to serve His people. He was fighting the ultimate war of all time – the battle of good and evil, conquering sin and death. Despite His glorious victory on Easter morning, His war lives on. But we all know the outcome (Satan does, too). Today, right now, we are His divine brotherhood. We are protected in an armor of His word and we will be victorious for His glory.
Thank you Heavenly Father for providing us with people who put to action the “WWJD” (What would Jesus do) mantra every day they sport the uniform they proudly wear for our beloved country. The home of the free and the land of the brave – just like you intended it to be. Help us to never forget the precious blood that paid our way to the freedoms we enjoy in this life and the next. Help us honor all the sacrifices You’ve permitted for us. What glowing examples our brave military display for us on how to love one another, as You love us. They make it look easy, help us to follow their noble lead.
If you have five minutes, check out the You Tube video “Soldiers Deck of Cards.” It’s a treat.