|Operation Iraqi Freedom 2005-06|
The sacrifices made by our military are worthy of our honor but honoring veterans doesn’t always take extraordinary efforts. It can be as simple as respect, remember and repay.
David's mighty men honored their leader and future king with a daring raid behind enemy lines to collect water from a well. David returned the honor. “Far be it from me, Lord, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” (2 Samuel 23:16-17)
David poured out the waster as an offering to God. He respected the risk taken by his mighty men. His act ensured that their valor would be remembered and payed the sacrifice forward.
My church gave me a small going-away party when I went to boot camp so many years ago. It was a sign of respect for this important right of passage. Today, when National Guard units deploy into war zones, they are honored both upon their departure and their return. Words cannot convey what I felt when, upon our re-entry to America, we were greeted by a line of senior veterans. They shook our hands and welcomed us home. Later, in the Atlanta airport, we were greeted by applause. I will never forget these simple acts of respect.
My church never forgot me while I was overseas. I received care packages and letters. My family was cared for. On the other hand, one woman told me that her church never once contacted her while she was deployed. She never forgave them.
Notes, care packages, church bulletins, and newsletters can be a comfort to a lonely service member, desperate for a reminder of home. Remember, also, the family left behind. A phone call to a lonely wife, an invitation to a meal, or an offer to take the kids for a while will mean a great deal. There is much that is missing from a family where one of the parents have been called to active service.
The cost of military service can be high. Some families have lost a member. Some soldiers have been severely wounded. All soldiers have had their lives disrupted. Education, careers and family are put on hold when duty calls.
After WWI discharged veterans got little more than a $60 allowance and a train ticket home, later, embittered, they marched on Washington to demand their due.
Following WWII the GI Bill transformed America by multiplying the number of educated Americans, populating our suburbs and creating new job opportunities. The GI Bill was one of the most successful piece of legislature in American history. Veteran’s benefits repay sacrifices that cannot be measured.
Let us respect, remember and repay our veterans and pray for the day when there will be no more war.
He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.