Memorial Day; A time our country remembers the fallen, the Heroes of Freedom!
The night brings darkness, bitter cold, and a constant alert for any noise that might cause reason for fear and continued alertness. The epic scenario for many hundreds of thousands of military personnel somewhere in a foxhole, or on an island of enemy protected turf, waiting; expecting the uncertainty of violence at any moment.
It can be a time when those of us prepared for the possibility of combat, uncertain of what will be our adversaries’ call to eliminate our quest to gain a peaceful conclusion to the world’s upheaval. Is it lonely? Yes! Although there are other companions waiting, as you, hoping the trigger finger needs not become a reality.
I remember during basic training at Fort Knox, KY. The early days, or nights, as sleep would not come, sobbing through out the barracks. Most men were just kids, late teens to early twenties. The loneliness had already begun. For some it was exciting; learning to use and take care of their weapon. An M-1 during the Korean era. It would be your closest companion in the field of war, and you’d better be able to rely on its function.
At Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Peters Twp. PA the horizon is covered with hundreds of America flags, each one on the grave of a deceased serviceman or woman. Some of course passed away in this country, with family members giving honor to them. But, in a country far away, Korea, Germany, Japan, the South seas islands, Pearl Harbor, and many other areas of battle the souls of countless brave service people lie without markers. Each one had a part in today’s memorial service. Whether they stayed state-wide or in some far-away land each one had a crucial part in defending freedom for all the lands we love.
As many so-called advocates denounce the flag of the United States, I tell you as a veteran of the U.S. Army I still honor that symbol and would have given my life for it if I had been called to do so.
Don’t forget the words of the great song, “Onward Christian Soldiers”. a 19th century English hymn. Reflect on Paul’s letter to Timothy; “Bear your share of hardship along with me like a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Tim 2: 3).
We are Christians and citizens of a country that has been designated by God to stand for the freedom these souls fought and died for.
Ralph B. Hathaway, Memorial Day 2021