Several years ago I was in a play called, “Summer Tree.” The story centered around a young man who struggled with going to war in Viet Nam. He had difficulty deciding to enlist or wait to be drafted. Over the course of the play he talks with his parents about his future, shares his concerns with his girl friend and in the end is killed in combat.
At the time, I was about 44 years old and had a son who was 18. I played the mother in the story. For me to get into character was no problem. I had already experienced watching my son grow into a man. The thought of his passing at such a young age was difficult to imagine, but portraying this mom who lost her son was more than that. Each performance, as I became this woman, I could feel her pain and sympathize with her loss. It physically drained me and on the evening of our final performance when the curtain came down, I actually passed out from the physical and emotional exhaustion.
I think of all the parents who have lost sons and daughters – all the sweethearts that had to move on – all the brothers and sisters of those fallen in battle and it touches my heart, not only because of the loss, but of the heroism involved. I imagine a telegram arriving to tell of the loss of a child. I wonder how I would react if I was on the receiving end of that message. All of those men and women gave the supreme sacrifice for their countrymen.
Some of them returned home with artificial limbs. Some suffered for the rest of their lives with PTSD. Some will never be the same and many of them lose their lives. This is reason enough to give them the honor they deserve. Anyone who is willing to put his own life on the line to sacrifice for others definitely should be given special attention.
When injustice is being done to humanity; when lives are being spent in the name of freedom; when governments become so big that they no longer include the voice of the people; the voice of conscience becomes louder and those who are listening will answer it and act upon it.
It seems quite common for rain to fall on this day. Maybe the tears of God are being shed for those who gave their lives. He knows what it’s like to lose a son. The tears don’t last forever though, because we know His Son conquered death and rose to life again, just as we will.
Dear, Lord, you paid the ultimate price for our eternal freedom. You are truly our hero, because you gave your life for the salvation of the entire world. Thank you for instilling bravery and courage into the minds of young men and women who serve our country. They are heroes, because of their unselfish acts. Help us, as your children, to give them the honor they deserve and never hesitate to sincerely thank them for their service. Amen!