Memorial Day

Flags In Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetary on May 24, 2012

Someone once said of our Memorial Day celebration and Memorial Day worship that it sounded like we were celebrating war. One thing is for sure; no one in their right mind will celebrate war, except perhaps those who love it. I am appalled at the words attributed to Generals George Patton and Douglas MacArthur… especially MacArther. General Patton said: “God help me, I love it so.” but MacArthur went way beyond the pale to say of the outbreak of the Korean War: “It was a gift from God for this old soldier.” I can’t even comprehend the amount of hubris it takes to even think of a statement like that, much less voice it.Imagin that God would allow (cause) millions of people to suffer and die just so an old General could have one more swing of the bat? Insane!!!

Anyone who has been in a war will not want to be in another. The human psyche was not meant to see or endure all the evil that war brings. I spent a short time in Vietnam before being wounded and taken to Japan. But it didn’t take me long to realize that war is not the way people and countries need to settle conflicts. It might be fine for the people who sit at desks or make the command decisions from country villas, but the ones who pay the price are the civilians and the pawns of war known as the average everyday dogface, mud Marine and those who fall from the sky. It has long been my contention that everyone comes home from war wounded to some degree or another. For some… they fight their battles most every night when they once again see the sights, hear the sounds and smell the stench of war.

Yesterday James reminded us of the mercy and grace that took place on Christmas Day during WWI. The silence of the morning is broken by a German soldier singing Silent Night. Then, across no man’s land and into the trench of the enemy, came a rum cake. Back across that battle area came a bottle of wine. After a while one soldier came out of the trench to meet his enemy on the battlefield not with a gun but with a handshake and a smile. All day more and more soldiers from both sides joined in the games, laughter and peace.

A miracle happened in the hearts of those men that day. The next day when ordered to attack many of them did not. Matter of fact many of these men had to be transferred to other places in order for the war to continue in that place. Could that possibly be God’s way of saying that if we take the time to meet and greet, to get to really know our enemy they no longer remain our enemy?

I weep for all the people on all sides of wars who died in battle because it didn’t have to be that way… they didn’t need to die… to leave wives, mothers, children without a husband, son or father. But we go to war because we are told we have to go. Somehow, someway, sometime, someone must stand up and say NO MORE! THERE IS A BETTER WAY!

May God’s profound peace touch the souls and surround all the families of all the people who gave their last full measure of devotion.

Grace and Peace

Steve



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One thought on “Memorial Day

  1. You saw more war in the short time that you were there that I did in two tours, but the scars are just as deep for me. There was a long tome that you wouldn’t talk about those wounds. I serve a little church filled with combat veterans. We all hug each other. Your message today is your way of hugging all those who read it with a holy and personal hug. Thanks from one Marine to another.

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